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Dodgers Notes: Date set for Andre Ethier's arbitration hearing

January 26, 2009 |  7:26 pm

Andre Ethier get high fives after the Dodgers beats the Chicago Cubs 10-3 in Game 2 of the NLDS in October.

Andre Ethier’s salary arbitration hearing with the Dodgers is scheduled for Feb. 17.

There was a $1.1-million gap in the salary figures exchanged by Ethier and the Dodgers last week, with the outfielder asking for $3.75 million and the club offering $2.65 million.

Ethier and the Dodgers can agree on the terms of a new a contract before the hearing.

Ethier made $424,500 this season and is eligible for arbitration for the first time.

The Dodgers have had only two arbitration hearings in the last five years: Eric Gagne in 2004 and Joe Beimel in 2007. The Dodgers won both cases, which were handled by assistant general manager Kim Ng.

Billingsley on track: Pitcher Chad Billingsley is recovering from his broken leg as expected and is scheduled for his first mound session of the year on Tuesday. He is expected to throw 20 to 25 pitches.

Billingsley, who will likely be the Dodgers’ opening day starter, has been working out with strength and conditioning coach Brendon Huttman, according to General Manager Ned Colletti.

“That’s going fine,” Colletti said of Billingsley’s recovery.

Billingsley’s regimen has so far consisted largely of treadmill running, agility drills and long tossing.

New assistant for Colletti: Former Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies Manager Lee Elia was hired to be a special assistant to Colletti.

The last time Elia and Colletti worked together, Elia was the Cubs’ manager and Colletti was in the team’s public relations department. Elia caused a PR nightmare in 1983 for his profanity-laced tirade against the fans at Wrigley Field that has become the single event with which he is most identified.

Elia will be the Dodgers’ Florida-based scout, replacing Bill Lajoie, who resigned and landed with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Another minor signing: The Dodgers signed knuckleballer Charlie Haeger to a minor-league deal.

Haeger, 25, was waived last season and claimed by the Padres, who non-tendered him this winter. He is 1-2 with a 6.35 earned-run average in 19 career games.

The Dodgers put in a waiver claim for Haeger last season, in large part because of a conversation Colletti said he had with minor league coach Charlie Hough in Vero Beach three years ago. Colletti said that Hough, a former knuckleball pitcher, identified Haeger as someone who had a chance to use the pitch effectively in the majors.

For full baseball coverage, go to latimes.com/sports.

-- Dylan Hernandez

Photo: Andre Ethier get high fives after the Dodgers beats the Chicago Cubs 10-3 in Game 2 of the NLDS in October. Credit: Jamie Squire / Getty Images

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