Chad Billingsley made a rehab start at Single-A

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Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley underwent Tommy John surgery in late April last season. After a rehab start at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday, the right-hander is one step closer towards his return. Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register reports that Billingsley threw a perfect inning with a strikeout.

Billingsley did come out for the second inning, but was on a pitch limit, so he left after ten more pitches. Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times reports that Billingsley walked off with a trainer, but it is unknown at the moment if that was just precautionary or an indication of a serious issue.

[Update: Per Hernandez, Billingsley felt “a little sensation” in his elbow. Manager Don Mattingly says it is not a reason for alarm.]

With the assumption that nothing has gone wrong, Billingsley is on track to make five more rehab starts before becoming a candidate to rejoin the Dodgers’ starting rotation some time in May.

The Dodgers could use another solid arm in the rotation, as they are currently dealing with injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Josh Beckett.

Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.

Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.

Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.

There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.