Chad Billingsley leaves start with right elbow tenderness

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It’s a good thing the Dodgers are about to get Josh Beckett from the Red Sox, because they may now have a hole in their starting rotation.

Chad Billingsley left his start against the Marlins last night in the fourth inning due to a tender right elbow. Alex Angert of MLB.com reports that an MRI revealed only inflammation. However, it’s not yet known if he’ll need a require a start on the disabled list.

“It’s hard to tell,” Billingsley said. “It just happened. They told me to just let it rest and go from there.”

Billingsley had a brief stint on the disabled list last month due to elbow inflammation. Getting some rest appeared to do wonders for him, as he was 6-0 with a 1.30 ERA over his last six starts going into last night’s outing. The 28-year-old right-hander has a 3.55 ERA and 128/45 K/BB ratio in 25 starts overall this year.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.