Seemingly affected by injuries dating back to their days in Spring Training, the Los Angeles Dodgers received a mixture of positive and negative news on Tuesday. Clayton Kershaw was able to complete another bullpen session, this one with more velocity than his first, and Brian Wilson was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list after being sidelined with nerve irritation in his elbow.
Chad Billingsley also threw in the bullpen, however his results weren’t on par with those of Kershaw’s. Billingsley had to stop throwing after feeling some discomfort in his elbow and it was determined he would return to Los Angeles for an MRI. According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, the MRI revealed a strong ligament:
#Dodgers Chad Billingsley had contrast MRI today. Showed ligament is fine. Tendinitis in elbow. Will be shut down temporarily.
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) April 17, 2014
While Billingsley’s comeback bid will be put on hold for now due to tendinitis, it is the second time in as many weeks that the right-hander avoided a serious setback; Billingsley exited his second rehab start early after feeling a “sensation” in his right elbow. A meeting with team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache revealed the sensation Billingsley felt was scar tissue breaking, which is considered normal for someone who has undergone Tommy John surgery.
When Billingsley began his five-game rehab schedule, there was optimism a return could come as early as May. The 29-year-old started two games last season before being shut down and ultimately having the elbow surgery, and figured to stand a chance in competing for the fifth spot in the rotation once he got healthy. With Kershaw on the DL and Billingsley still working his way back, Josh Beckett and Paul Maholm have both been forced into the rotation, rather than one emerging as the fifth starter and the other being sent to the bullpen.
If Billingsley is able to return in 2014, he could bolster an already deep pitching staff, but also may create for another difficult roster decision — similar to what was seen with Wilson being placed back on the active roster.
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