After the final Spring Training schedule was announced yesterday, it seems as if two Dodger players have plans of being ready once it begins in February.
Outfielder Matt Kemp suffered through an injury-plagued 2013 season that ended with an ankle injury. He had two procedures in the off-season, one on his left shoulder and one on his left ankle. Right-handed pitcher Chad Billingsley missed almost all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April.
According to J.P. Hoornstra of the L.A. Daily News, both players’ agent, former major leaguer Dave Stewart, had good news to deliver about his clients:
The agent for Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp and pitcher Chad Billingsley said Monday that both players will be able to participate in spring training activities from the start of camp.
Stewart also added a little more on Billingsley:
I think (the Dodgers) will be conservative, Stewart said, but (Billingsley) will be starting with everybody else in spring training.
The typical recovery for Tommy John surgery is about 12 months, which Billingsley would reach in April. The 29-year-old has been throwing 75-80% from 120 feet and hopes to be throwing off a mound by January. Last season, the right-hander started two games for the team, going 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA before being shutdown and needing surgery.
Billingsley was playing with a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament but was trying to get through it without needing surgery by way of strengthening the muscles around the ligament and receiving platelet-rich plasma injections.
Kemp is already at Camelback Ranch in Arizona recovering from his surgeries. He’s expected to be in a walking boot for at least two more weeks but will be ready to go once the Dodgers meet up in February. Last season, Kemp played in just 73 games for the Dodgers, hitting .270 with six home runs and 33 RBI. He hurt the ankle on his first day back from the disabled list after failing to run after a groundball and was hurt in a play at home plate.
The Dodgers hope that both players can recover fully and be ready to go for the 2014 season as their health will determine management’s plan over the winter.
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