Chad Billingsley’s elbow was the major concern coming into spring training, but it was a bruised right finger suffered during a bunting drill which put him on the disabled list to begin the season. However, after Billingsley it through a minor league rehab start on Thursday, Quinn Roberts of MLB.com reports that he has been cleared to come off the disabled list to start Wednesday against the Padres.
“It went well. I accomplished everything I needed to to get ready for my next start,” Billingsley said on Friday at Dodger Stadium. “I’ve got no issues with the finger. I’m anxious to get back out there, compete and win some ballgames.”
Billingsley, 28, posted a 3.55 ERA and 128/45 K/BB ratio in 149 2/3 innings over 25 starts last season before going down with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. After opting against surgery and receiving platelet-rich plasma injections during the offseason, he hasn’t had any issues this spring.
Who knows if Billingsley’s elbow will hold up for the entire season, but the Dodgers have plenty of starting pitching depth if there’s a setback. Veteran arms Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang are both in the bullpen at the moment while Ted Lilly is currently on a minor league rehab assignment following shoulder surgery.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.
Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”
On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”
Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.
Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.