Chad Billingsley reportedly signs three-year extension
Chad Billingsley was dressing at his Dodger Stadium locker Monday when a passerby said, “Congratulations.”
Billingsley smiled, but the soft-spoken right-hander said nothing.
The starting pitcher had reached tentative agreement with the Dodgers on a three-year contract extension worth between $35 million and $36 million, with a possible option for a fourth year, two people familiar with the talks said earlier in the day.
Billingsley, 26, would confirm only that he was in contract negotiations that began during spring training, but he would not discuss any specific terms.
The Dodgers also declined to comment on the report from the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been signed.
But Billingsley said he hoped to extend his career with the Dodgers. He was the Dodgers’ first-round draft pick in 2003, and he went 12-11 with a 3.57 earned-run average last year in his fourth full season with the club. He has a career mark of 59-41.
“I started my career here in 2003 and love what this organization stands for,” he said.
Billingsley and the Dodgers avoided a salary arbitration hearing in January when Billingsley signed a one-year, $6.275-million contract. He was eligible for arbitration for the second time; he was paid $3.85 million in 2010.
The extension, if finalized, would at least run through 2014 and have the effect of postponing Billingsley’s entrance into free agency by two years.
Billingsley is scheduled to start the Dodgers’ second game of the season, on Friday, against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium.
Gwynn and Gibbons
The Dodgers are looking at starting left-handed batter Tony Gwynn Jr. in left field against Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum on opening day Thursday, Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said.
Jay Gibbons, another contender for the left-field job, might open the season on the disabled list because he’s still having problems with his vision and contact lenses, Mattingly said.
“Just because we haven’t really set our roster yet, I don’t really want to talk about it too much, but the way I look at it right now [I’m] probably thinking in terms of T. Gwynn” on opening day, Mattingly said.
“He’s had a good camp, got experience,” Mattingly said of Gwynn, 28, who entered Monday’s exhibition game against the Angels batting .283 (13 for 46).
Gwynn, who played for the San Diego Padres last year and is the son of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, said “I’d be ecstatic” to play opening day.
“All along I came into the spring with just wanting to work, and work on my swing, to get to a point where they could entertain the fact” of him playing in the season opener, Gwynn said. “Plus, being a Los Angeles Dodger, it means something to you.”
Gibbons, meanwhile, is “still having trouble” with his vision despite briefly leaving spring training earlier this month to adjust his contact lenses in hopes of improving his eyesight, Mattingly said, adding that Gibbons was scheduled to see another specialist Tuesday.
In the meantime, it would be tough for him to start the season because “he’s not seeing the baseball the way he needs to,” Mattingly said. “At this point he’s having trouble picking up [the ball’s] spin and dip and all those things.”
Times staff writer Dylan Hernandez contributed to this report.
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