Chad Billingsley allowed one run in his 3 2/3 innings in his third Cactus League start on Thursday afternoon as the Los Angeles Dodgers lost to the Kansas City Royals 8-5 at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona. Billingsley threw 62 pitches in the outing, his longest of the spring, and was pleased with his progression.
Billingsley said he had improved fastball command, a sentiment echoed after the game by manager Don Mattingly. Billingsley struggled in the first with 27 pitches and two walks, though one of the walks came on a borderline 3-2 backdoor cutter that Billingsley, Mattingly, and catcher Matt Treanor seemed to agree should have been a strike.
"I had some good battles in the first inning, which are good to have. You have to keep attacking," Billingsley said. He also induced six groundouts, most of which with his changeup. Billingsley allowed one run on four hits, with two walks and a strikeout.
In the first game of the spring that the Dodgers didn't use a designated hitter, relief pitcher Todd Coffey got the first hit by a Dodgers hurler this season. Coffey is 0-for-7 in his major league career. "I even got DH'd for in high school," Coffey said after the game.
Shortstop and leadoff hitter Dee Gordon walked in the first inning, then stole second without a pitch as both Royals middle infielders had their backs turned and weren't paying attention. Gordon later scored that inning on a balk.
First baseman James Loney was held out of the lineup for the third straight day with calf tightness, but he returned to the practice fields Thursday morning for workouts. Loney is expected back in the lineup on Friday against the Texas Rangers.
Ted Lilly makes his third Cactus League start of the season on Friday against Texas.
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