It was announced today that Los Angeles Dodger starter Chad Billingsley will have Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow causing him to miss the rest of the 2013 season. It sure didn’t take long (less than a month) for the Dodgers’ immense surplus of starting pitchers at the end of Spring Training to turn into a deficit.
As you well know, Zack Greinke is out for at least six more weeks after breaking his collarbone fighting with Carlos Quentin, and Dodgers dumped Aaron Harang and $4.25 million towards his remaining contract to the Rockies for catcher Ramon Hernandez, who turns 37 next month and appears to have very little left in the tank.
Meanwhile, Chris Capuano is also on the DL with a strained calf, although that at least sounds like an injury Capuano will come back from quickly.
As a result of all this rash of injuries, the Dodger rotation suddenly looks suspect, with Ted Lilly set to rejoin the rotation after pitching in only three minor league starts (and poor ones at that) since late May of 2012. Rounding out the rotation is Stephen Fife, a 26 year old rookie who doesn’t look like he’ll have a significant major league career unless he gets really lucky.
It just goes to show you how quickly things can change in baseball. A couple of key injuries and a major strength suddenly becomes, if not a major weakness (the Dodgers still have Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Josh Beckett), at least a major cause for concern.
I bet the Dodgers now wish they’d held on to Aaron Harang just a little bit longer, when all they got in return was an over-the-hill back-up catcher and a little bit of salary relief.