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Out with neck injury, Lilly throws simulated game

WASHINGTON -- Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly threw a simulated game before his team's series opener against the Nationals on Friday, as he continues to come back from a neck injury.

Lilly said he threw about 20 pitches and used his whole arsenal while facing center fielder Matt Kemp, who also is on the disabled list. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the plan is for Lilly to do the same on Saturday, take a couple of days off, then throw a "multiple-inning" simulated game next week when the team is in Toronto.

Lilly said he "felt good" during the outing, but isn't sure when he will be ready to return. He hasn't pitched for the Dodgers since June 4 and has made five starts on the season while spending three stints on the DL. The 37-year-old made two rehab starts for Class A Rancho Cucamonga before the All-Star break, but wasn't sure if would need any additional rehab games.

Considering the toll the injuries have taken, Lilly's plan is to return to the Dodgers as a reliever, despite the fact he hasn't appeared in that role since 2003.

"That's what he's wanting to do," Mattingly said. "In Teddy's words -- and I don't want to totally put the words in his mouth -- but he's feeling like his body is not responding to 90 pitches, and he's got a better chance of responding to 20 or 25. He's thinking his body's going to hold up a little bit better in a relief role, and so that's what we're trying to do."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff.
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