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Dodgers' Chad Billingsley aims for early July return

Chad BillingsleyLos Angeles DodgersClayton KershawZack GreinkeJosh BeckettDan HarenHyun-Jin Ryu
Pitcher Chad Billingsley, a starter by trade, could work out of the bullpen when he returns to the Dodgers
Dodgers like their current rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett and Dan Haren

Chad Billingsley could rejoin the Dodgers in early July, which would put him back in the major leagues 15 months after he underwent Tommy John surgery.

The Dodgers are not holding a place in the starting rotation for Billingsley. They are happy with their current rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett and Dan Haren.

"Chad is pretty much a starter, but it depends where we are at that time," Manager Don Mattingly said. "If everything is going well, and everybody is pitching really well, you just can't turn the apple cart over."

Billingsley has not appeared in relief since 2009. He wants to start but said he is not anxious about whether there might be a spot in the rotation for him.

"It's not for me to be worried about," he said. "I'm worried 100% of my time about being able to get back and pitch."

Billingsley, 29, is scheduled to pitch a simulated game Tuesday. If all goes well, he would then make what he expects to be five minor league rehabilitation starts.

Billingsley abandoned a previous rehabilitation assignment in April, after complaining of discomfort in his surgically repaired right elbow. The condition was diagnosed as tendinitis and the tearing of scar tissue, he said.

The Dodgers selected Billingsley in the first round of the 2003 draft, one pick after the Angels took onetime phenom Brandon Wood, and promoted him to the majors in 2006. The Dodgers can pick up his 2015 option for $14 million or buy him out for $3 million.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Chad BillingsleyLos Angeles DodgersClayton KershawZack GreinkeJosh BeckettDan HarenHyun-Jin Ryu
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