Billingsley allows four, Dodgers fall to Arizona
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Chris Young hit his fourth homer of the spring and Daniel Hudson allowed one hit in five innings to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks past the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2 on Sunday.
Ryan Budde also homered off Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley, a two-run shot. John McDonald added a solo drive and scored twice for the Diamondbacks. Justin Upton tripled and drove in a run.
Billingsley, penciled in as the No. 2 starter for Los Angeles, gave up four runs and six hits in three innings. Young hit a solo homer in the third.
“My fastball was good, curveball was good, changeup was good,” Billingsley said. “The cutter wasn’t.”
The only run Hudson yielded came on James Loney’s RBI double in the first. The right-hander struck out five and walked one.
“I feel comfortable with everything right now,” Hudson said. “I can’t say enough about how good the ball feels coming out of my hand. I’m ready to go, ready for the season to start.”
The Dodgers broke camp after the game relieved that there were no major injuries and confident they are ready for the season to begin. Before that, they play three Freeway Series exhibition games against the Los Angeles Angels, beginning Monday night in Anaheim.
“We got our work done,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said as he packed up for a long drive across the desert. “We’re coming into the season as well-prepared as we can be at this point. I feel like we’re prepared to play.”
Los Angeles opens the regular season April 5 at San Diego
Optimism at Camelback Ranch started with 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and center fielder Matt Kemp, last season’s runner-up for National League MVP. It ended with further confidence in Andre Ethier, the right fielder who was limited last season by a knee injury.
In 48 at-bats this spring, Ethier had a .398 batting average with 16 RBIs. His 19 hits included three home runs, three triples and nine doubles.
“The positive thing about Andre is that he is healthy, looks healthy,” Mattingly said. “He is squared up in the box. He’s hitting the ball all over the field. So at this point, I’m confident about where he’s at, where we’re at.”
Mattingly acknowledged there are questions about the Dodgers’ offense after the club struggled to produce runs last season. At the start of camp, Kemp predicted he’d be the first player in major league history to hit 50 homers and steal 50 bases.
“Matt was through the roof last year,” Mattingly said. “But 40-40 or 50-50 might be expecting too much. Just be realistic.”
The Dodgers also are hoping for offensive production from Loney and Juan Uribe. Loney had a solid spring, batting .294 with 15 hits. Uribe struggled with a .238 batting average.
Mattingly hopes to see the Uribe who was so effective with San Francisco. The Dodgers signed him before the 2011 season.
“To me, the important thing is getting Juan back on the field and healthy,” Mattingly said. “In his own mind, he’s got to know he’s healthy.”
The Kershaw-anchored pitching staff opens the season with starter Ted Lilly on the disabled list. Mattingly said the Dodgers are using his time on the DL to allow Lilly, the No. 3 starter, to catch up after missing two Cactus League starts with a stiff neck.
Mattingly said Billingsley’s work Sunday was “just OK.” But the manager didn’t see it as a sign that the right-hander would struggle.
“Spring is not always the best indicator,” Mattingly said. “We want to keep him healthy, get him built up. If he feels strong and confident, that’s a good sign.”
NOTES: RHP Jamey Wright is scheduled to start Monday night for the Dodgers. The Angels plan to counter with RHP Dan Haren. The series continues Tuesday and Wednesday, both at Dodger Stadium. … Dodgers coaches voted right-hander Nathan Eovaldi the Mulvey Award, which goes to the top rookie in spring camp. In five Cactus League appearances, the 22-year-old Eovaldi had a 1.72 ERA and limited opposing batters to a .233 average. Eovaldi is scheduled to start Wednesday against the Angels. … Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin is the scheduled starter Monday against the Chicago Cubs in Scottsdale.