Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley should be ready to rejoin the rotation early in April. Eric Stephen, at SB Nation’s Dodgers blog True Blue LA, notes that Billingsley tossed six-plus strong innings in a Minor League game tonight, showing that he has overcome a fingernail injury sustained while attempting a bunt.
Stephen also notes:
Manager Don Mattingly said Billingsley remains in his starting rotation, but it will just be a matter of when. The Dodgers don’t technically need a fifth starter until Apr. 13, their 11th game of the season. But Billingsley could be mixed into the rotation earlier, perhaps as early as Apr. 7.
Billingsley landed on the disabled list in late August last season due to a partial tear of the UCL ligament. Prior to that, he had posted a 3.55 ERA in 149.2 innings.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.