LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Dodgers have lost another arm in their rotation after it was announced that Chad Billingsley will undergo Tommy John surgery, with an expected recovery of 12 months.
Billingsley was scratched from his expected start Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles with elbow pain. The right hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list and returned to Los Angeles to have an MRI on the elbow.
The 28 year old pitcher was placed on the DL at the end of last season, and was given the option to undergo Tommy John surgery. Billingsley declined, and opted rather to treat the elbow through injection.
Billingsley joins an ever-increasing roster of inactive Dodgers pitchers. Zach Greinke suffered a broken collarbone in the scuffle that ensued as the result of San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin charging the mound after being hit by a pitch. Chris Capuano was called out from the bullpen to replace Greinke in the rotation, but made it just four innings through his first start before aggravating a calf strain.
The team expects left hander, Ted Lilly, to get his first start of the season on Wednesday at Citi Field when the Dodgers play the Mets. Lilly is coming off shoulder surgery, and his recovery has been sluggish. However, if he can work back to his dominant form from the beginning of last season, it may reduce the sting of losing other starters.
Stephen Fife was called up to replace Billingsley’s spot in the rotation, but his first start of the season proved difficult, as he gave up seven hits and four earned runs in just under five innings of work. However, Fife did earn an impressive 2.70 Earned Run Average in five starts for the Dodgers last season.
There has also been talk of the Dodgers taking a closer look at one of their top pitching prospects, Zach Lee. Lee currently has a 2-0 record and a 1.17 ERA in 23 innings at AA Chattanooga this year, with 21 strikeouts to only 6 walks.
Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez, who first tweeted the news of the surgery, says that it will be performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.