Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chad Billingsley's elbow MRI could impact John Ely and Ryan Dempster

News broke this morning that Dodgers' starting pitcher Chad Billingsley was scratched from his start because of an "undisclosed injury."

Undisclosed injury progressed to elbow tenderness which progressed to him needing an MRI.

Oh boy. Elbow MRIs are never a good thing. Even if it isn't the worst (torn ulnar collateral ligament), he'll probably need a disabled list stint.

Reports are Billingsley felt the pain for the last few starts, but thought it was just normal soreness. He told Manager Don Mattingly about it yesterday (something Mattingly wasn't happy about), leading to today's scratch.

It's hard to know how long Billingsley's been hurting. His fastball velocity has been inconsistent in his last five starts.

Date       Avg       Max
6/16       91.5       93.7
6/22       92.4       94.5
6/27       91.5       93.0
7/2         92.3       93.8
7/7         91.4       92.6

So, we'll see what happens with the results of the MRI. I'm not optimistic.

That means we could see John Ely quite soon. The 26-year-old is having a stellar season for the Isotopes in the Pacific Coast League: 3.22 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 1.8 BB/9, 9.7 K/9 and a 3.29 FIP.

If anyone in the minors deserves a shot this season, it's Ely. His turnaround has been remarkable considering he struggled mightily in Albuquerque last season: 6.11 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 6.2 K/9, 4.78 FIP).

It also means we could see a trade sooner rather than later. It's 16 days to the trade deadline and the Dodgers have been linked to Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Cole Hamels. The Dodgers have scouts watching both teams.

I wrote about Dempster and Garza last month, but I've yet to write about Hamels. Apparently, the Dodgers have a deal on the table for Dempster that includes two pitching prospects. Some speculated (myself included) about who the pitching prospects might be. Garrett Gould, since he was on the table for Carlos Lee, is likely to be one of them. It's anyone's guess who else it could be, but the names Chris Withrow and Aaron Miller came up.

We'll see what happens with the MRI and the potential trade, but I'd bet a lot of money that Dempster will be in Dodger Blue within the next 10 days.

Photo credits
Billingsley: SD Dirk, Flickr
Dempster: mootown, Flickr

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