Chad Billingsley's uncertain health status was one of the reasons Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti cited for entering spring training with eight starting pitchers.

But Billingsley said that in his mind, there are no doubts about his elbow. He has already been on the mound about a dozen times since he started his throwing program last month.

"Throwing a bullpen [session] and throwing all my pitches, bouncing back for the next one, I have no problems," he said.

That he can do this much is a relief to Billingsley, who sat out the final month of the season because of a partially torn elbow ligament and was considered a surgery candidate.

Billingsley spent the first part of the off-season rehabilitating at the Dodgers' spring-training complex.

"I was going to get my work in, do what would give me the best chance not to do [surgery]," he said. "And if it didn't hold up, then, OK, I would have to have surgery."

An operation would have sidelined him for the 2013 season.

The Dodgers' medical staff tested Billingsley's elbow in gradual steps. They had him play catch. They had him do long toss. They had him do long toss at longer distances. They had him pitch from a mound. They had him pitch from a mound at 90 mph.

"Each time, I passed with flying colors," he said.