The Los Angeles Dodgers came into Spring Training relatively healthy as Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett and Matt Kemp were the main three recovering from injuries. Beckett finally made his spring debut today while Billingsley and Kemp have taken steps forward in their recovery.
However, after throwing breaking balls for the first time yesterday, the 29-year-old right-hander is experiencing expected soreness after finally throwing curveballs yesterday according to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com:
Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley said he had some soreness Sunday after throwing breaking balls off a mound Saturday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery on April 25.
Billingsley isn’t expected back until late May or early June and thankfully hasn’t had a setback in his recovery. His progress can only bring the organization comfort if Beckett, Paul Maholm or any other pitchers don’t start the season firing on all cylinders.
Meanwhile, starter Zack Greinke is still sidelined by a right calf strain he suffered after just four pitches in his first start Thursday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. While he was lifted as a precaution, he skipped his bullpen session and won’t pitch next Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners.
The 30-year-old starter made comments about his lack of excitement for the season starting in Australia since it’ll ruin his routine and it sounds unlikely he’ll pitch during the Opening Series according to Gurnick:
It’s two weeks before the Dodgers’ plane leaves for Australia, and it looks less likely that Zack Greinke will be on it.
Manager Don Mattingly hasn’t committed to who’ll pitch the first two games of the season and it’s possible Clayton Kershaw doesn’t start either. Rounding up the list of injuries is outfielder Carl Crawford, who returned to action yesterday, but as the designated hitter. The 32-year-old outfielder is dealing with quad tightness and will be back in the outfield shortly according to Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA:
Manager Don Mattingly said that Crawford likely wouldn’t play in the field for another two or three days.
While the news on Billingsley and Crawford is positive, Greinke sounds like he’s still dealing with effects from the calf strain. Having him not pitch in Australia isn’t the worst thing, but hopefully the Dodgers will be close to 100 percent come March 30.
ICYMI: Here’s our Dodgers Nation Week In Review Video