Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley partially tears flexor tendon in arm

Chad Billingsley
Chad Billingsley, shown in an April 2013 appearance, is more than 13 months removed from elbow surgery and unlikely to return to the rotation before the All-Star break as he hoped.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley is no longer on course to return around the All-Star break because of a partially torn flexor tendon in his arm, the team announced before its game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday afternoon.

The right-hander has missed the entire season, and most of 2013, while recovering from elbow ligament replacement surgery, and was aiming to return by early July.

An earlier version of this post misspelled Dr. Neal ElAttrache’s last name as ElAtteache.


In a statement, the Dodgers said that the team and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed the Tommy John surgery last year, are considering treatment options and that more information will be known in the next couple of days.

“It’s hard to say what’s going to happen right now,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said before Friday’s game. “I don’t know all the options, I don’t know what they’re thinking, I just know that they obviously shut his rehab down and the MRI wasn’t great. From there, I think we need to let Billingsley and the doctor figure out where they are going to go next.”

The 29-year-old has been with the major league club since 2006, and has gone 81-61 with a 3.65 earned-run average in that time.

The Dodgers weren’t holding a spot in the rotation for Billingsley, so there was potential for him to join the bullpen barring injuries or a drop in performance from current starters Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett or Dan Haren.


Earlier in the day, the club announced that starting catcher A.J. Ellis was activated from the disabled list. 

Also back in the starting lineup is shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who missed the club’s last two games with AC joint irritation in his shoulder. Mattingly said that he wouldn’t be sure whether Ramirez could play the full game until after seeing how he deals with taking ground balls and making throws in batting practice.

It wasn’t all good news. Infielder Justin Turner suffered a “little leg thing a couple of days ago,” and according to Mattingly, he seemed to re-aggravate it yesterday. The injury, which appears to be a calf aggravation, doesn’t appear to be long term, but Turner most likely won’t be available Friday.

Third baseman Juan Uribe seems closer to returning to the lineup after straining his right hamstring in late May, but still needs to pass some agility and running tests to get medical clearance.

“Ground-ball-wise, swinging the bat-wise, he looks pretty good,” Mattingly said. “He’s been doing a lot of different types of running, so we think he’s not too far away, but it’s not tomorrow.”

Uribe has been on the disabled list since May 21, Mattingly said that his third baseman will need to get some at-bats before he takes the field again.

One place Uribe could do that is in Arizona, where the Dodgers’ rookie team plays. That’s where outfielder Carl Crawford is now, rehabbing a left ankle sprain that has placed him on the disabled list since May 27.

Mattingly said that Crawford wasn’t in Arizona to necessarily play in games, but to take part in programs that will allow him to get as many as 15 at-bats per day. The idea is for Crawford to get multiple at-bats in one day without actually having to play in a game, something Uribe could be doing soon, too.


Almost all the questions that Mattingly fielded before the game were injury-related. Just another day in Dodger land.

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