In 2003, the Los Angeles Dodgers used their first round pick on a right-handed pitcher out of Defiance High School in Ohio named Chad Billingsley.
He proved that pick was worth it, pitching seven seasons for the team from 2006-12 before dealing with injuries for most of 2013 and all of 2014. The Dodgers bought out the 2015 option in his contract last October marking the end of his career with Los Angeles, the only organization he had ever been a part of.
In the offseason, the 30-year-old signed a one year, $1.5 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, hoping to revive his career with a new organization. While he has also dealt with injuries this season, Billingsley has made five starts for the Phillies, giving up 18 earned runs in 21 innings (7.71 ERA). The former Dodger All-Star will make his sixth start of the season Tuesday night, but this start will be different than his other five he made with the Phillies this season.
According to J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News, Billngsley is caught up in emotions realizing he will pitch against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday:
A lot of emotions,” Billingsley said Monday.
“I don’t know.”
Billingsley started at least 31 games for the Dodgers for four consecutive seasons from 2008-2011, winning as many as 16 games in 2008 and being named to the National League All-Star team in 2009. He required Tommy John surgery in April 2013, and then needed flexor tendon surgery in June 2014, putting his career in jeopardy. Billingsley knew he would be able to make his way back though:
“I always knew I was going to get back,” he said. “You never want to finish your career on something like that, not being able to make it back. I’m fortunate enough to be able to make it back.”
While Billingsley hasn’t quite seen the success this season that he saw earlier in his career, he will attempt to get back on track Tuesday night at his old stomping ground against Brett Anderson and the Dodgers.