If Chad Billingsley is coming back this year, it’s likely as a reliever

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Chad Billingsley is on the DL. Some think he may not come back at all. If he responds well to the platelet-rich plasma injection he had last week, however, he could come back as a reliever. Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times spoke to Don Mattingly about that:

As the comeback of Chad Billingsley drags on, any possible return this season trends toward him becoming a reliever …

… “It kind of moves in that direction,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “There is instructional league going on and things like that. You can try and build up that way. At the end of the season you would think a guy would be fairly built up.”

But not built enough for starting, Mattingly thinks, because the minor league seasons are basically over.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.