GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Maybe Dodgers ownership would have spent $200 million this winter to sign Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu even if there was no doubt about Chad Billingsley's arm.
But there is, even if not in the mind of the man with that arm, who sounded convincing Tuesday when he said he's not worried about the partially torn elbow ligament that cut short his 2012 season and left management looking for more arms.
"I feel normal," said Billingsley, who chose platelet-rich plasma injections over Tommy John surgery, as Takashi Saito did successfully five years ago. "There wasn't a time in the offseason when I felt like I didn't know if it would hold up," Billingsley said. "I know some people think it's an issue, but I don't. I came to Spring Training not worried about it."
That's because, after rehabbing the elbow last September and October, he was able to hit 94 mph in a simulated game in November.
"They pushed me, basically gave me a chance to blow it out, figuring if it was going to fail, it would be better to know then," said Billingsley. "In the simulated game, I felt awesome. I'm really excited."
The Dodgers now have eight pitchers vying for five starting spots. Billingsley had success pitching in relief in 2007, but he has been a starter ever since.
"I'm not thinking about that right now," he said when asked if he'd be willing to relieve again.