June 10, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley (58) pitches to the Seattle Mariners during the game at Safeco Field. Los Angeles defeated Seattle 8-2. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

To Lose Chad Billingsley is to Lose a Favorite Dodger

These are the posts which are the least fun to write. Even when the Dodgers are in a six-game skid and all hope seems to almost disappear, there is always a positive to reflect upon somewhere in the game. At the end of the night there is almost always that good defensive play, or that all out performance by a specific player, or even perhaps the way a guy hits the ball even if he doesn’t receive a base for hit. No, the saddest and biggest game changer is when a favorite player gets injured.


Chad Billingsley has been a core part of the Dodgers since 2006. Photo: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been many critical injuries sustained by Dodgers over the decades. Russell Martin, the now Pittsburgh catcher, who ended his Dodger career with a attempt to avoid a tag at home plate versus the Padres. Zack Greinke, the Dodgers most expensive arm, broke his collarbone recently against those same N.L. West foes. Sandy Koufax pitched through pain and eventually retired. Pain which would under today’s conditions require Tommy John Surgery. Today we also learned that former Dodger pitcher Jon Ely will be undergoing Tommy John surgery this week.

Chad Billingsley most likely will need Tommy John surgery and this will figure him out of the entire 2013 season. Billingsley will see Dr. Neil ElAttrache Tuesday in Los Angeles, and we will find out the fate of the right-hander. It’s possible that it is just some soreness, but it could be that his Dodger career would be stalled while he undergoes the operation and rehabilitates his elbow. Losing Chad Billingsley for the entirety of the season weakens the Dodger rotation, but it also makes me melancholy to think Billingsley will not be a part of this Dodger season. He has been one of the core players in recent years.

The 28-year old from Defiance, Ohio was seemingly defiant when he opted to not have surgery on a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament last season. Bills instead treated the tear with platelet-rich plasma injections. Billingsley had some minor health issues this past Spring Training including a groin strain and a bruised finger. Neither of these stemmed from his elbow injury. Chad started two games for the Dodgers this season going 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 6 strikeouts and 5 walks in 12 innings pitched. In his first start after returning from the disabled list this April, Billingsley looked good. He only allowed one earned run on 5 hits in 6 innings versus San Diego. I was hopefully optimistic that Billingsley’s elbow had healed, and that he would have a normal and successful season.

Many thought that postponing the inevitable would just increase the time that he would be out of the game

Chad Billingsley will be missed amongst fans if he has to have season-ending surgery. Photo: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

after the surgery. I said in an earlier post this Spring, is that anytime you can avoid major surgery is worth attempting. I think I’d get a thousand PRPs than go under the knife for Tommy John surgery. Have you seen the  videos of the surgery? It’s not a procedure to take lightly. Even when more and more pitchers are finding success after elbow reconstructive surgery, there’s still a risk involved. Losing Zack Greinke was a big blow to the team. By also losing Chad Billingsley, the Dodgers rotation is suddenly way less potent and a lot more problematic. When I saw that the Dodgers were to have a surplus of starting pitching going into this season (they had eight starting pitchers on the 25-man roster going into Opening Day, I for some reason thought in the back of my mind that something was going to spur the usage of all available pitching. It’s almost like we jinxed ourselves. Chris Capuano, who has had two Tommy John procedures, was waiting in the wings (the bullpen) to pitch when he was asked. Once Greinke was disabled, Capuano had the opportunity to seize. Once Cappy succumbed to injury after just a few innings of a disastrous start, the Dodgers who had already traded away starter Aaron Harang, were all of a sudden short on pitching.

Ted Lilly will make his season debut in New York on Wednesday. Lilly has been injured through most of last season was deemed not ready by the Dodgers a couple of weeks ago. Lilly now has to be ready, because the Dodgers have little wiggle room now. They had to resort to starting AAA-pitcher Stephen Fife on Sunday when Billingsley reported his elbow soreness. After Fife, the Dodgers would then go to Matt Magill. Magill is on the 40-man roster while top prospect Zach Lee is not. I do not expect to see Zach Lee this year on the big club other than perhaps a brief September call-up.


Chad Billingsley Photo by: Stacie Wheeler

The old saying “you can never have enough pitching” holds very true this season. Even when the Dodgers had too many starters, unexpected injury can befall more than one player at a time. Pitchers seem like they almost only have a few peak years in them before their velocity declines or their arm gives way to tearing. Major League pitchers put a lot of stress on their arms, especially power pitchers like Chad Billingsley.

Billingsley is one of the longest-tenured Dodgers now. The Dodgers drafted him back in 2003 in the 1st round (24th pick) out of Defiance High School. He made his Dodger debut on June 15, 2006 at the age of 21. He’s in his second year of 3-year of a $33 million deal. The Dodgers owe him $11 million for 2013, $12 million for 2014, and there’s a $14 million team option for 2015 or a $3 million buyout. I hope that Billingsley can come back and find himself pitching in Dodger Blue again.

Chad Billingsley is not only an exciting pitcher to watch as he uses a full arsenal of pitches, but he is also somewhat handy with a bat. Bills has a .140 career batting average with 2 homeruns over his career as a Dodger. Some may cite his inconsistencies and his inability to live up to the expectation which a no. 2 pitcher behind Clayton Kershaw is looked to to achieve. We were frustrated when Bills didn’t pitch the way we know he can pitch. We’ve seen him use his pitches brilliantly over the years as a Dodger, but other times he relied too much on his cutter instead of having confidence in his fastball.

If Chad Billingsley is lost for the season, we have then lost a core Dodger. Not being able to watch Billingsley pitch for the Dodgers this season will be disappointing, and I am pretty sure that teammates Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Clayton Kershaw feel the same.

Some say not too get emotionally involved with a player. Too late. I’m forever emotionally involved with this team.

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Tags: Chad Billingsley Los Angeles Dodgers

  • AaronKnuckleCurve

    i have to think our training staff and doctors are a bit too conceding to these guys. The Nats shut down their best pitcher. i dont think the dodgers would do that to anyone. even kemp coming back too early and busting up his hammy AGAIN last season.

  • Real Dodger fan.

    What are you talking about? Are you high? Have u even been to Dodger Stadium and watched a game live, or do u just surf the web for your info like the rest of these wanna be fish hacks that call themselves sports reporters. For you to say he is a favorite dodger makes me cringe…i am a long time season ticket holder and nobody wanted this bum to get his last extension, nobody! He was over paid on his last contract and was over paid again on his newest contract. His nickname in our section is Chad the Choker, for all his late game blunders. He does not do good when the pressure is on, never has. Plays good against far less superior opponents but can never step up against good teams. Can u say Darren Dreifert all over again. Potential he had a ton, but if the potentil doesnt turn into reality than whats the use…ohh and one last thing, please dont call yourself a Dodger Fan ever again.

    • Real Dodger fan.

      a stay at home mom huh. Ok nothing wrong with that but please stick to pb n j sandwiches and stay away from dodger reporting.

      • Stacie Wheeler

        I watch every game and frequently attend games at Dodger Stadium since I was a kid. Just because you don’t like Chad Billingsley you don’t need to hurl insults at me and call out my love for the Dodgers. I’ve watched Bills pitch since he came up on June 15, 2006, and I can say that there was plenty of excellent pitching from him over his Dodger career. To compare him to Darren Dreifort is just ridiculous.

        • Real Dodger fan.

          Nice, that’s the fire and passion i like to see from Dodger fans. Glad
          to know your love is there, i stand corrected you are a fan. But lets
          get one thing straight, my insults aren’t at you personally (i don’t
          know you enough to make those assumptions), but more at your reporting. I
          know that “Chad” wasn’t liked in our locker room as much as you may
          think. He has had numerous altercations with players and coaches alike.
          From not living up to his potential, to lieing to stay in the rotation,
          than game day saying he can’t pitch, to than finding out his elbow is
          injured and not letting the coaching staff know he had pain, to maybe
          being a little overrated and over paid. When he didn’t retaliate for his
          team after his teammate got hit in the NLCS vs PHI he lost some of his
          teammates is what i heard (especially when Victorino talked smack). The
          Dodgers tried on multiple occasions in 2010 and 2011 to trade this guy
          and nobody took the bait. What does that tell you? I know what it tells
          me, he’s overrated and over paid and nobody would take him and his
          contracts. The kid can’t get past the 5th inning…he doesn’t trust his
          pitches, tries to make batters chase with junk outside and he doesn’t
          use his change up the way he should. He has the stuff, just not the moxy
          to be a Dodger, sorry it is what it is. Yah maybe he was a little
          better than Dreifert but they both don’t deserve to wear Dodger
          Blue….just saying. I don’t go around bashing people online, in fact
          this is the 1st time I’ve ever commented online EVER! This is how much i
          disagreed with your article. When your on the world wide web, and put
          yourself out there i am able to comment on anything you say good or bad.
          You just have to take it, like it or not. You can’t go around “banning
          people from commenting” as your little bro put it just cause you don’t
          like what they have to say…just my thoughts but what do i know. Have a nice rest of the day Stacie…im getting back to my Dodger game.

          • LasordasLair

            Do you have anything to prove any of this? As far as I know, the Dodgers have never tried to trade Bills, nor has his teammates disliked him. He is actually a very nice guy, and as far as I’ve heard, his teammates all have loved him over the years. And please don;t bring up that nonsense from the 2008 NLCS. Again insulting woman anonymously over the internet is very cowardly. You have the right to speak your opinion, and we value everyone’s opinions, but you were getting personal with my sister. No need for those personal attacks.

    • LasordasLair

      The fact that you call yourself “Real Dodger Fan” is a joke. If you had any balls, you would publish your nasty comments under your real name. But I expect you would never do that, considering how cowardly you are. There is no reason to sling nasty insults at my sister, just because you don’t like Chad Billingsley. If you don;t like Bills, fine, no problem. If you think Bills sucks, and obviously you do, then fine. If you have a problem with me, then fine. But don’t ever insult my sister again. We can and will have no problem banning you from commenting. I’ll give you a second chance to apologize, but if I see one more nasty comment you will be forever banned from commenting on this site. So again, I challenge you to post a “real” comment using your “real” name, coward. Let’s see if you actually have the balls to come out of hiding.

      • Real Dodger fan.

        Look here little brother i can say anything i want and you can either like or not i don’t care. It’s not my fault you can’t take the heat. If that’s how you work by deleting people who make comments that are against what you believe in than go ahead and delete me. Do whatever your little heart desires. If that makes you sleep better by deleting me go ahead tuff guy. When your Sis puts herself out there on this world wide web she best know not everyone will agree with what she says, and she’ll have to hear it. Of course little brother can come over and delete the comments if she feels hurt or doesn’t like the response. You have my email tuff guy email me and we can discuss this further if it suits you. Im not a kid on here looking to go back and forth on this post, i have a game to get back to. Like i said earlier im at Dodger Stadium all the time, email me and we can discuss further in person if your heart desires. Bring all of your “ONE” twitter followers if it makes you feel better. Ohh and by the way this changes nothing…..BILLINGSLEY IS STILL A BUM!!!

        • LasordasLair

          I didn’t delete you, if you read, I said I would ban you if you continue to leave nasty comments, and insult people for no reason. This has nothing to do with Billingsley. I don’t care what your opinions of Bills. You are the one insulting a woman on the internet anonymously. How would you feel if someone was insulting your sister for no reason? You have yet to include your real name. Mine is right on the front of the site. BTW dude, I sit in the Dodger press box with the presscore.

        • LasordasLair

          I don’t have your email retard. But let’s see if you have the courage to include your “real” email and name. Mine is right on the front of the site, along with my email addy. Again, only cowards insult woman anonymously over the internet.

  • PastyRasta

    Are you kidding me? How could a “real Dodgers fan” be happy about the team losing one of its starters? You may not like Bills but that doesn’t mean you are right or give you the right to personally bash a writer who obviously loves the Dodgers…if you’re gonna rip the writer then back it up with some kind of statistical analysis not your innate opinion (you’ll probably need to google innate to see what it means) not only was Billingsley an All-Star but when the Dodgers signed him to his extension they were lauded for signing him for less money than he would have received had he hit the open market…again by backing my argument up with facts, rather than just badgering a fellow Dodgers fan for writing an article that is fact based and contains very little of her personal opinion, I don’t come across as juvenile and uneducated like you did as your entire response is based solely on your opinion, you are certainly entitled to your opinion and you don’t have to agree with the writer but what right do you have to personally assault her for simply doing her job? None. By responding in the ridiculous manner in which you did you just made yourself sound ignorant and juvenile and in doing so you make Stacie look smarter in the process. Do us all a favor and go to another website to share your idiotic opinion…this site is for real Dodgers fans who actually know something about Baseball…losing Billingsley is extremely detrimental to the team (again you’ll need to google some of these big words…based on your reply I’m sure you’re having a difficult time comprehending my response) how could you possibly celebrate losing the team’s#3 starter until 2015 and call yourself a Dodgers fan…go do what you do somewhere else this site if for real fans

    • Real Dodger fan.

      Agree to disagree my friend, agree to disagree. It’s my opinion and i stand by it…Bills is a bust. You don’t have to like it, just read it…comment…and keep it moving.

      • PastyRasta

        you forgot to add personally insult the writer then move on…and since when are we friends?

      • craigbhill

        You’re nuts. Bills will come back stronger than ever from TJ.
        I vote we vote you off the island.