Billingsley's 2nd MRI On Point, Fife Tipped For Tuesday?

Feb 28, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Stephen Fife (79) throws to first during a fielding drill during a workout at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

The Dodgers got some relatively good news regarding Chad Billingsley on Monday, as a second MRI confirmed inflammation in his elbow but nothing more. Manager Don Mattingly said, "We're just really happy there's nothing serious on the MRI," per Jimmy Bramlett of LAist.

As of now, Tuesday's starter for the Dodgers against the Phillies is unknown. Billingsley said he would "probably not" start on Tuesday, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News. Though Billingsley has not been ruled out from a Tuesday start by Mattingly, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, it seems highly unlikely Billingsley would get the call just two days after getting scratched.

The Triple A Albuquerque Isotopes provide a clue to the possible direction the Dodgers are headed. Stephen Fife was scheduled to start for Albuquerque on Monday but was scratched in favor of Bret Montgomery. Fife (4.53 ERA, 36 walks, 66 strikeouts, five home runs in 97 1/3 innings) might not be having as good a season as John Ely (3.22 ERA, 22 walks, 117 strikeouts, 13 home runs in 109 innings), but Fife is on the 40-man roster Ely is not.

The Dodgers have some roster maneuverability as Todd Coffey, out for the season, has yet to be moved to the 60-day disabled list, but the Dodgers might not want to take a roster spot for a temporary move that could be for as little as one start.

Billingsley last pitched on July 7, so if placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, he could pitch as early as Monday in St. Louis, though Tuesday seems more likely as Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, Nathan Eovaldi, and Clayton Kershaw could pitch Friday through Monday, after Thursday's off day.

In other words, look for Fife to get the call for one start on Tuesday, possibly followed by an extra reliever like Michael Antonini for four of five games until Billingsley is ready to pitch again.

Starting Lineups

Phillies
Dodgers
SS Rollins (S) 3B Hairston
CF Victorino (S) 2B Ellis
2B Utley (L) CF Kemp
1B Howard (L) RF Ethier (L)
C Ruiz LF Rivera
RF Pence 1B Loney (L)
LF Pierre (L) SS Cruz
3B Polanco C Ellis
P Blanton P Eovaldi

Game Time: 7:10 p.m.

TV: Prime Ticket

MLB Gameday

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