Sunday, April 21, 2013

Dodgers place Chad Billingsley on DL, recall Stephen Fife, sadness ensues

That didn't take long at all. We were all skeptical about how long Chad Billingsley's balky elbow would hold up. The answer: two starts.

The Dodgers placed the 28-year-old on the disabled list on Sunday. Stephen Fife was recalled from Triple-A to take his spot.

While I've come around on Fife, this is still a bad situation for the Dodgers, which will seemingly cap off a bad week.

Some are calling for Zach Lee to be recalled. While I"m sure it's tempting, especially with his fast start in Double-A, the Dodgers have other options.

Ted Lilly is set to rejoin the team next week. After the Dodgers and Lilly played a game of chicken, the Dodgers won. In hindsight, that was a good win for the club. Instead of finding a trade partner for Lilly or having to release him, he'll slide into Chris Capuano's spot until the lefty is ready. Then, the Dodgers will have to make yet another decision about the rotation.

For now, Fife is playing the role of Billingsley. He was always going to be first in line from the minors to replace a fallen starter, especially after logging 26 2/3 decent innings with the club last season. If things don't go well with Fife and Capuano isn't fully healed, Matt Magill would be next. He's already on the 40-man roster, so the Dodgers wouldn't have to make a subsequent move to get him on the active roster.

I'm the biggest Magill fan not named Chad Moriyama in the Dodger blog community, but he needs a little more seasoning before he gets the call. He's walked 10 batters in 15 innings. That isn't the kind of walk rate that's conducive to success anywhere, let alone the majors.

It would take a lot of bad luck for Lee to start a game for the Dodgers this season. That, or he'd be so lights-out in Double-A that his prospect status rises again and the Dodgers can't keep him down.

If Zack Greinke weren't out, Billingsley's elbow soreness -- while expected at some point -- wouldn't be as big a deal. Greinke will be fine when he gets back, but there's no telling what the Dodgers are going to get out of Lilly, Capuano and Fife. And that's a scary thought.

So much for that pitching depth, eh? It's really being put to the test right now.

Photo credits: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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