Chad Billingsley wants to start for the Dodgers, but is there room for him?

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Last month Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley had to stop his minor-league rehab assignment for Tommy John surgery due to a setback, but he returned to the mound yesterday by throwing a simulated game.

Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times reports that Billingsley will throw at least one more simulated game before trying another minor-league rehab stint, but he generally seemed pleased with how things are going:

My arm is feeling really good right now and I’m real happy the way it responded. It’s not throbbing or anything like that. It wasn’t really fatigued after throwing 30 pitches, so it’s definitely responding very well right now.

Billingsley hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2012, but before the elbow problems he was a very effective mid-rotation starter for the Dodgers with a 3.66 ERA in 1,163 innings from 2006-2012. Because of that success Billingsley understandably wants to return to the majors as a starter, saying: “If they had some other thing [in mind], why would I be doing multiple innings?”

However, right now there’s no clear spot for him in a Dodgers rotation that includes Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Josh Beckett.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.