NEW YORK (AP) - Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley will have Tommy John surgery this week and miss the rest of the season, the latest setback for the Los Angeles rotation.
“Just unfortunate,” manager Don Mattingly said before Tuesday night’s game against the New York Mets.
Billingsley will have the elbow-ligament transplant operation Wednesday in Los Angeles. The team said it typically takes about 12 months to return to competition.
Billingsley was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts this season. He was scheduled to start last Sunday in Baltimore, but instead was put on the 15-day disabled list because of elbow pain.
The 28-year-old Billingsley joined three other Dodgers starters already on the disabled list: Zack Greinke (left fractured clavicle), Chris Capuano (left calf strain) and Ted Lilly (left shoulder surgery).
Lilly is set to come off the DL and start Wednesday night in New York, a day after former NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw pitched against the Mets.
“You’re probably going to need eight-to-10 starters,” Mattingly said. “You probably wouldn’t think you’d need them in the first 20 days.”
Billingsley hurt his elbow last August, didn’t pitch after early September and decided to try rehabilitation and a platelet-rich plasma injection instead of major surgery. He had been fine until feeling pain last Friday in a bullpen session. An MRI showed the injury.
“I think he was pretty confident coming into the spring. He had a great winter and was able to throw,” he said. “I think he was more confident than we were.”
Billingsley is 81-61 with a 3.65 ERA in eight big league seasons, making him the longest-tenured Dodgers pitcher.
“I’m sure he’s disappointed,” Mattingly said.
Billingsley’s jersey hung in his locker at Citi Field. The team said he wasn’t at the ballpark.
“I can’t really speak for the medical department,” he said. “You can’t make a guy do anything. The fact that it was working was encouraging to him.”