As of a couple of days ago, the Dodgers were holding out hope that Chad Billingsley might be able to contribute as a reliever later this month. That dream is now dead, as he was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday.
Left-hander Steven Rodriguez, a 2012 second-round pick who was pitching for the Florida Gators a couple of months ago, was called up to join the bullpen.
Billingsley was having a nice bounce-back season before his elbow shut him down last month. He won seven straight starts from July 23-Aug. 19, and he was 10-9 with a 3.55 ERA when he went on the disabled list.
Without Billingsley and Ted Lilly, the Dodgers are currently going with a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano, Josh Beckett, Aaron Harang and Joe Blanton. Lilly, out since late May with a sore shoulder, threw a simulated game Wednesday and is hoping to rejoin the Dodgers later this month, but he lacks the time necessary to get stretched out to start.
The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.
Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”
Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.
Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.