Billingsley breaks bone in leg

Hernandez is a Times staff writer.

Chad Billingsley fractured a bone in his lower left leg when he slipped on an ice-covered step outside his Pennsylvania home Friday night, adding another question mark to a depleted Dodgers rotation that is set to lose Derek Lowe and Brad Penny this winter.

Billingsley underwent surgery Saturday to insert a metal plate into his fibula, the smaller of the two major long bones in the leg. Billingsley’s agent, former major league pitcher Dave Stewart, said Billingsley should be able to start throwing by the first week of January, as previously planned.

Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch said the club expected Billingsley to be ready for the start of spring training in Glendale, Ariz.


“This is supposed to be a six-week process,” Stewart said.

Stewart said Billingsley sounded relieved Saturday, noting that the 24-year-old was given the impression that the injury was far more serious when he was first examined by Dr. Paul Neuman the previous night.

As it was, Billingsley, who was 16-10 with a 3.14 earned-run average this year and could enter camp as the team’s No. 1 pitcher, might have already been facing a long off-season. He was criticized by teammates for not protecting them in the National League Championship Series when Philadelphia starter Brett Myers threw near the heads of Manny Ramirez and Russell Martin in Game 2. Billingsley was 0-2 with an 18.00 earned-run average in the series.

How much this will affect Billingsley’s off-season workout regimen remains uncertain. He will be in a cast for two weeks and should start rehabilitation in four weeks. He won’t be able to run for some time, but he should be able to start riding a stationary bicycle in a month.

How this will affect the Dodgers’ maneuverings in the free-agent and trade markets, if at all, is also uncertain. General Manager Ned Colletti was unavailable for comment Saturday night.

With Lowe and Penny expected to sign elsewhere and Greg Maddux likely to retire, the Dodgers’ rotation at this point consists of only Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda and 20-year-old Clayton Kershaw.

The Dodgers are interested in CC Sabathia, who has already received a six-year, $140-million offer from the New York Yankees. A.J. Burnett and Ben Sheets aren’t on their radar.


Colletti has explored trade possibilities in the last couple of weeks but said Friday there weren’t any deals that were close to being completed.

The Dodgers’ discussions about a trade for former Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy stalled some time ago, as the Dodgers balked at the San Diego Padres’ asking price of a multi-player package that included Billingsley.