Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chad Billingsley out for season, Dodgers recall Steven Rodriguez

Chad Billingsley's season was cut short on Wednesday as the Dodgers placed the right-hander on the 60-day disabled list. He was placed on the 15-day DL on Aug. 25 after suffering a right elbow injury.

Billingsley, who had been amazing since the All-Star break, had two platelet-rich plasma injections to try to save his season. It didn't work.

Now, he and the Dodgers are hoping the injections save him from Tommy John surgery.
"(Billingsley) has been officially shut down for the season with a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament ... If the injection doesn't heal the 'slight tearing,' then there is a chance he would need offseason surgery, likely Tommy John, which would keep him out for 2013. Having not picked up a baseball in two weeks, Billingsley had no idea what percent of a chance there is for surgery and he didn't want to speculate."
So, there's that.

Tommy John or not, I expect the Dodgers to do basically whatever it takes to land Zack Greinke in the offseason. I'll go deeper into that in the coming months, suffice it to say the Dodgers need a clear-cut No. 2 behind Clayton Kershaw. While Billingsley has shown flashes of it, Greinke is that guy.

He was transferred to the 60-day DL to make room for Dodgers' 2012 second-round draft pick Steven Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, the 82nd player chosen in June's MLB Draft, will be the first player from the draft class to make his Major League debut.

The 21-year-old has a low-90s fastball and a cutter. He's been as adept at getting right-handed hitters out as he is left-handers in his debut season.

vs. RHH
6-for-42 (.143), 5 BB, 19 K
vs. LHH
5-for-27 (.185), 1 BB, 13 K

Overall, he posted a 0.92 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 0.86 FIP and an amazing 14.6 K/9 in 19 2/3 innings. Despite being three months out of college, the Dodgers think he's ready to help the team now. He's not eligible for the postseason roster and manager Don Mattingly said he'd be used primarily as a left-handed specialist. With Scott Elbert down, it'd be nice to see him get some significant innings.

The Dodgers' bullpen is losing quality pitchers -- fast. Kenley Jansen's status for the rest of the season is unknown with the same irregular heartbeat he experienced last season, Javy Guerra strained his oblique after his first game since returning and the aforementioned Elbert is likely done for the season.

That leaves Brandon League, who's been on absolute fire of late (great breakdown, Chad), Ronald Belisario and Jamey Wright as the most reliable pitchers left. That last part is frightening.

It's too bad the Dodgers just can't throw Kershaw all the time.

There are a few weeks left and the Dodgers are middling. Let's hope they can figure things out. But even if they do, their chances of making a legitimate run at the pennant are diminished.

Photo credits
Billingsley: SD Dirk, Flickr
Rodriguez: Courtesy of Eric Stephen, True Blue LA

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