The Los Angeles Dodgers signing of Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena required the team to make a corresponding move that would free up a spot to add the shortstop to the 40-man roster. Still working his way back from Tommy John surgery, Chad Billingsley appeared to be a likely candidate to be placed on the 60-day disabled list, but instead, it was Justin Sellers who was designated for assignment.
Following the official announcement of the Arruebarrena signing, general manager Ned Colletti stated the team wasn’t ready to look at a timetable beyond 60 days for Billingsley, according to Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLa:
Why not Billingsley to 60-day (which would push his return past May 17)? Colletti said not prepared to put that timetable on him yet
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) February 22, 2014
Stephen also reports the decision to not place Billingsley on the 60-day DL may be an indication that he’s progressing well with his rehab:
Billingsley threw another bullpen session on Saturday, and said his arm still feels as good as it did coming in to camp. He is still limited to throwing no faster than 85 mph, but those restrictions will likely be relaxed soon and Billingsley will be allowed to throw curve balls as early as next week.
Billingsley recently told Los Angeles Daily News’ JP Hoornstra that he wasn’t worried about a spot in the rotation and believed the situation would work itself out. By avoiding the 60-day DL, the 29-year-old right-hander might be ready to pitch by May, not June. Billingsley managed to start two games last season before being shut down and ultimately opting for elbow surgery.
While his return would certainly be welcomed, the Dodgers should tread lightly and avoid rushing him back, which could lead to re-injury down the line. With only one relief appearance in the last five seasons, 2014 may mean adjusting to life out of the bullpen for Billingsley, if Josh Beckett or Paul Maholm are able to take hold of the fifth spot in the rotation.
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