LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley will not pitch in 2014. The right-hander as expected on Monday opted for surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. The surgery will be performed by Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.
Billingsley will be able to throw again in three months, and full recovery from the procedure will take six months.
"I'm flustered. I didn't want to have to spend two years in rehab. The season's down the drain again," Billingsley said Monday, before a heavy sigh. "But that's how it goes."
Billingsley was on the rehab from Tommy John surgery in April 2013, a procedure that was delayed over an offseason as Billingsley opted for an alternate treatment of platelet-rich plasma injections into his elbow in September 2012.
"It has been a long couple of years for him, but you kind of hope this is the surgery that gets him over the hump," manager Don Mattingly said.
This time, Billingsley could have received stem cell treatment for his elbow and might have been able to pitch again this season. But the risk was too great.
"The percentages weren't in my favor. It was really playing with fire, trying to come back from a Tommy John surgery. If the stem cells didn't hold up you risk tearing everything," Billingsley said. "Then you're talking about jeopardizing your career."
He said when he first heard the news from Dr. ElAttrache on Thursday he needed a few days to process the sobering prognosis.
Billingsley was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts in 2013 before he was shut down for the surgery. Now, in his 12th year in the organization and ninth year on the major league team could be his last in Los Angeles. Billingsley has a $14 million club option for 2015 that is almost certain to be declined, which would pay him a $3 million buyout and make him a free agent.
For now though, that is the furthest thing from Billingsley's mind.
"I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about getting healthy. I'm not healthy," he said. "This is the best chance for me to pitch next year."