LOS ANGELES -- No matter what, Chad Billingsley's surgically repaired right elbow could keep him from pitching this season for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and there is a fair chance he has pitched his last game for the organization at any level.
Billingsley had been on the recovery road from Tommy John surgery in April of last year, but while pitching a rehab game last Sunday, the right-hander suffered a huge setback. He felt pain in his right elbow again, and an MRI exam showed a partially torn flexor tendon.
Now Billingsley is faced with two options, neither of them appealing: He can rehab the elbow with the hope of pitching again this season, or opt for surgery. If he rehabs and it doesn't fix the problem, he could risk reinjuring the already repaired ulnar collateral ligament that the first surgery fixed, and would face another surgery that would cause him to miss all of next season. Opting for surgery now assures he won't pitch again this summer but he could return to pitch next year.
It sounds as if Billingsley is leaning toward the surgery, but he won't know for sure until after he meets with team physician Neal ElAttrache on Sunday.
"Doing three years of rehab [if I miss next season] sounds like a grind," Billingsley said Saturday.
Billingsley has a $14 million club option for 2015, but if he isn't able to show this season that he can still be a valuable piece of the major league rotation, the Dodgers aren't likely to pick it up. Billingsley was asked if he had considered the possibility that he has thrown his last pitch for the organization.
"Oh, yeah. Last year [when I first got hurt]," Billingsley said. "I'm not there yet. I'll talk to Dr. ElAttrache and think about it and make my decision."