The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to get good news at Camelback Ranch as right-hander Chad Billingsley threw to live hitters for the first time today. Billingsley is on the comeback trail from Tommy John surgery and with Josh Beckett dealing with a sprained right thumb and Paul Maholm just ahead of him, he’ll be counted on when he gets back.
So far, Billingsley has thrown his breaking pitches and estimates he’s thrown close to 20 bullpen sessions. With no setbacks thus far, it he’s on track to make his debut in a minor league game shortly according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com:
Billingsley said he expects to throw a few more BP sessions against hitters, and he remains on track to make the first of at least five rehab appearances in the Minor Leagues starting on April 6. The right-hander estimates that he has already thrown close to 20 bullpen sessions this year.
It’s certainly great news for the Dodgers as they learned last year that having too much pitching depth is never a bad thing. At the time of his injury, Billingsley was on the best role of his career and hopefully he can recapture some of that magic when he gets back. Facing him at Camelback Ranch is Matt Kemp who’s also on the road to recovery from left ankle surgery.
It isn’t known where Billingsley will start his rehab, but he said he’s excited to finally start getting a starter’s routine down. Beckett has been dealing with a right thumb contusion, but finally started throwing breaking balls in his start yesterday. While the first four spots in the Dodgers, the fifth spot still seems to be shaky with the spring performances from Beckett and Maholm.
Hopefully Billingsley doesn’t suffer any setbacks on his road back as the Dodgers could certainly use him or the back end of the rotation.
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