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.
Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.
“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:
Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.
Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.
While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”
Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”
Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.
This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.
Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.
Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.
The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.