Chad Billingsley pitched to hitters for two pain-free innings Monday, a sign that he may be able to avoid reconstructive elbow surgery this off-season.
“It looks like he’s going to be ready for the 2013 season,” said Dave Stewart, Billingsley’s agent.
Billingsley sat out the final month of the season because of a partially torn ligament in his right elbow and faced the possibility of a ligament-replacement operation that would sideline him next season. If healthy, Billingsley figures to be the Dodgers’ No. 2 starter behind Clayton Kershaw.
Billingsley will continue his normal off-season throwing program to prepare himself for spring training.
Billingsley touched 94 mph with his fastball and threw an assortment of pitches, including his four-seamer, two-seamer, curveball and changeup. Billingsley threw 35 to 40 pitches.
This was Billingsley’s second time throwing off a mound since he was injured. The first time was Friday.
“Very, very promising,” Stewart said.
“Chad is a pretty subdued guy, but he was as excited as he could get.”
Free agents identified
Ten Dodgers officially became free agents, including reliever Brandon League, who the team is close to re-signing.
General Manager Ned Colletti has said he would also like to re-sign the team’s two other free-agent relievers, veteran right-hander Jamey Wright and situational left-hander Randy Choate.
Three of the 10 players were granted free agency as a result of the Dodgers declining their options for 2013: outfielder Juan Rivera, reliever Todd Coffey and catcher Matt Treanor.
Rivera’s option was worth $4 million, Coffey’s $2.5 million and Treanor’s $950,000. Rivera received a buyout of $500,000, Coffey $300,000 and Treanor $150,000.
Like the players whose options were declined, the team’s four other free agents are also unlikely to return: outfielders Shane Victorino and Bobby Abreu, pitcher Joe Blanton and utilityman Adam Kennedy.
With Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford under contract, the Dodgers don’t have room in their starting outfield for Victorino, acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. While Victorino expressed an interest in re-signing with the Dodgers, he said he had no intention of doing so to be a backup.
Victorino, who turns 32 Nov. 30, batted .245 in 53 games with the Dodgers. His .255 average was the lowest of his career since becoming an everyday player, but he set a career high in steals with 39.
The Dodgers have 36 players on their 40-man roster.
Kershaw, right fielder Andre Ethier and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez are finalists for Gold Glove Awards, given to the top defensive players in each league at each position. The winners will be announced Tuesday.
All three players won Gold Glove Awards last season.
Gonzalez was nominated in the American League because he played for most of the season for the Boston Red Sox. Gonzalez won the award twice in the National League with the San Diego Padres.
The Dodgers have granted the Toronto Blue Jays permission to interview third base coach Tim Wallach for their vacant managerial position, according to people familiar with the situation.
Wallach interviewed for the Boston Red Sox’s job this month. The Red Sox hired John Farrell, who managed the Blue Jays this year.
The Blue Jays wanted to interview Wallach for their manager’s position in 2010, but couldn’t do so because of a provision in Wallach’s contract with the Dodgers.