Chad Billingsley was shut down in August with a partially torn elbow ligament, but he avoided surgery and now the Dodgers right-hander is on track to be ready for spring training.
“Tomorrow I’ll throw off a mound for the eighth time and I’ve had no issues,” Billingsley said during a radio interview yesterday, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “It’s just like any other offseason. I’ve had no issues, no setbacks. Everything is looking good going into spring training.”
For now it looks like rest, rehab, and platelet-rich plasma injections instead of Tommy John surgery was the right call, but partially torn elbow ligaments tend not to just go away and he’ll definitely remain a question mark for a while.
Of course, the Dodgers are well-prepared for a potential Billingsley absence because they’ve stockpiled the most starting pitching depth in the league.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.