Right after Chad Billingsley said, "I think it's behind me," he paused, turned around, found some wood, knocked on it and continued, "But you never know. Any time you step on the mound ... "
It's that kind of spring for Billingsley, who continues to clear each milepost in his non-surgical approach to a serious elbow injury. He has made three appearances in the Cactus League and, while the results have been mixed, he has yet to feel any sharp pains in his elbow.
Billingsley is convinced he's back, but are the Dodgers? They continue to work their way through camp with eight veteran starting pitchers on the roster, so they appear to be in a wait-and-see mode with him.
"It doesn't matter what they think. It's what I think and I know how I'm feeling," Billingsley said. "That's all it is, being honest with myself."
If he does make it through this season in good health, Billingsley can thank modern medicine. He had two injections of platelet-rich plasma in the area of his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament last September rather than undergo Tommy John surgery.
Billingsley seemed to have good life on his fastball in the Dodgers' game against the Texas Rangers on Thursday and he has begun mixing in his cut fastball. In 7 2/3 innings, Billingsley has allowed 12 hits and six earned runs this spring.