As the Los Angeles Dodgers look to hit their stride and find any semblance of consistency, Chad Billingsley has continued to attempt working his way back from last year’s Tommy John surgery.
There was some hope Billingsley would return as early as May, which seemed plausible when the right-hander took the mound for a rehab start in early April.
While that didn’t occur, Billingsley may now be drawing closer to joining the Dodgers as he’s scheduled for a rehab game Sunday, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register:
#Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley will start rehab assignment with Class A Ranch Cucamonga Sunday. 30 pitches
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) June 7, 2014
Sunday’s start would be Billingsley’s second rehab assignment this season. His first, which was in early April, was cut short as Billingsley was removed from the game after feeling a pop in his surgically repaired elbow. The right-hander would be shut down from throwing and received a platelet-rich plasma injection.
After receiving the treatment, Billingsley threw two simulated games and is now set for live game action. Surviving injuries to multiple Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodgers starting rotation has been one of the few bright spots thus far.
Josh Beckett and Dan Haren have exceeded expectations, with Haren getting off to a 4-0 in start. However, Haren hasn’t been quite as effective since, going 1-4 in his last six starts. Perhaps with that in mind, Billingsley said he’s expecting to return as a starting pitcher.
Prior to 2013, in which Billingsley only made two starts before being shut down and undergoing surgery, he posted six consecutive seasons with at least 10 wins. With the Dodgers holding a team option for next season, Billingsley’s ability to get back on the mound this season may have a significant influence on the remainder of his career.
Dodgers Outfielder Andre Ethier Surprises Middle School Students