One of the storylines heading into 2014 Spring Training for the Los Angeles Dodgers is the health of injured starter Chad Billingsley. The 29-year-old starter only made two starts in 2013 before undergoing Tommy John surgery.
At the end of 2012, Billingsley had partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament and chose against undergoing surgery, rehabbing the injury throughout the off-season. Ahead of the 2014 season, Billingsley likely won’t be back until June or July, but talked to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com how things are progressing:
Chad Billingsley, coming off Tommy John surgery, said he’s thrown nine bullpen sessions without a setback.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) February 8, 2014
If the season were to start today, Josh Beckett would be the Dodgers fifth starter, but they’re close to adding free agent starter Paul Maholm. The Dodgers also signed Dan Haren earlier in the off-season and he’s projected to be their fourth starter during the season.
Before injuring himself in the second half of the 2012 season, Billingsley was arguably pitching the best of his career. In seven starts after the All-Star break, he went 6-0 with a 1.80 ERA and held opposing batters to a .211 average. The Dodgers certainly have rotational depth with Stephen Fife and Matt Magill vying for a chance to start.
The Dodgers also have a decision to make about Billingsley at the end of the season as he’ll have a club option for $14 and a $3 million buyout. Obviously, a lot of the decision making will be based upon how he looks in 2014, but with prospects Ross Stripling and Zach Lee knocking on the door, there’s no guarantee he’s back in 2015.
Most importantly, the Dodgers need to get their former top prospect healthy for the 2014 season as it’s looking like he’s on track for a summer debut.
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