Chad Billingsley was hoping to make it back from Tommy John surgery this season, but now he’ll have to wait until 2015 for the opportunity to throw another pitch in the major leagues.
Billinsgley was diagnosed with a partial tear of his flexor tendon last week after complaining of elbow soreness during his minor league rehab assignment. According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, he has opted to undergo surgery to fix the tear. It will end his season, as the expectation is that he won’t throw for three months and won’t be game-ready for six months. He could be ready for the start of 2015 if all goes well.
Billingsley was originally drafted by the Dodgers in 2003 and owns a 3.65 ERA over 190 starts and 29 relief appearances in the majors, but he could find himself on the free agent market this winter. Given his recent health issues, the Dodgers will likely decline his $14 million option for next season and pay him a $3 million buyout.
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.