Chad Billingsley has had “no issues” with elbow rehab

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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.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.