Trey Hillman knows to hit the shoulder and not the elbow - Scott Cunningham
The Dodgers' right-hander, who tore a ligament in his right elbow in August, has increased the intensity of his throwing program, and is this far without pain.
The Dodgers got a piece of good news regarding Chad Billingsley on Monday, as the right-hander threw two innings without pain, throwing somewhere between 35 and 40 pitches. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times has more details:
"It looks like he's going to be ready for the 2013 season," said Dave Stewart, Billingsley's agent.
Billingsley touched 94 mph with his fastball and threw an assortment of pitches, including his four-seamer, two-seamer, curveball and changeup. Billingsley threw 35 to 40 pitches.
Hernandez reported it was the second time pitching off a mound for Billingsley since his injury, along with Friday.
Billingsley was sidelined through the All-Star break in July with elbow inflammation, but after his brief disabled list stint he was red-hot. Billingsley won six consecutive starts for the first time in his career, and was 6-0 with a 1.80 ERA in seven starts to open the second half. But he left that seventh start early, on Aug. 24 against the Miami Marlins with more elbow pain.
After another stint on the disabled list, it was determined that Bilingsley had a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. But rather than opt for Tommy John surgery, which would have kept him out for all of 2013, Billingsley sought an alternative treatment. He had a pair of injections of platelet-rich plasma into his elbow, hoping that would heal the tear.
Billingsley began a light throwing program in Cincinnati on Sept. 21, and has gradually increased the intensity ever since. The Dodgers had said they likely wouldn't know Billingsley's status for 2013 until early November, after he increased the intensity of his throwing. So far, so good.
With free agency starting today, the Dodgers are likely to pursue a starting pitcher on the market even with six starters under contract in 2013. The uncertainty of Billingsley's health for next season has played a part in that desire.
"Pitching, you can never have enough. Ted Lilly is coming off surgery. Chad Billingsley is still in an area where we will wait and see in the next few weeks. I would say starting pitching is a need," general manager Ned Colletti said on Oct. 4. "We don't know what we're going to get from players that are recuperating now or hopefully avoiding surgery. We can't wait until we find out."
Colletti on Friday reiterated that the Dodgers would pursue pitching as a top priority this offseason.