Billingsley baffled by proliferation of surgeries

May, 13, 2014
May 13
6:22
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- As Chad Billingsley works his way back from Tommy John surgery, he has started to ponder why so many fellow pitchers have joined the club he never wanted to be part of.

[+] EnlargeChad Billingsley
AP Photo/Paul SancyaIf all continues to go as expected, Chad Billingsley could be back with the Dodgers sometime next month.
The Miami Marlins' Jose Fernandez is the latest bright, young pitcher who might be headed for the season-ending surgery pioneered by longtime Dodgers team physician Frank Jobe. Billingsley had his surgery 13 months ago and threw his second bullpen session before Tuesday night's game, mixing fastballs and changeups. He had to restart his throwing program after experiencing pain in his elbow two weeks ago.

An unprecedented number of pitchers have been diagnosed with torn elbow ligaments requiring Tommy John surgery since the start of spring training. They include Braves right-handers Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy and Cory Gearrin; Diamondbacks ace Patrick Corbin; Athletics starters Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin; Rays All-Star Matt Moore; Yankees starter Ivan Nova; Padres starter Josh Johnson; Mets closer Bobby Parnell; Royals setup man Luke Hochevar; Tigers reliever Bruce Rondon; and top Pirates prospect Jameson Taillon.

Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg are other All-Stars who have had the ligament-transplant operation, which can take 12 to 18 months for recovery.

"What we do is not natural," Billingsley said. "No one knows the answer. Guys' arms go out. What's Jose, 22? I was 28. You get it at a young age, in old age. Every guy's mechanics are different in such a way, it'd be so hard to pinpoint one, two, three things. You see guys where you're like, 'How does he do it without hurting his shoulder or elbow?' and they do it for years. There are guys who look like they have great mechanics and they can't stay healthy. It's just an unnatural motion."

Billingsley joked that the only solution might be to start throwing underhand.

"Hey, softball players can throw 12 innings in back-to-back days," he said.

Billingsley was diagnosed with tendinitis and received an injection of platelet-rich plasma and has now thrown two bullpen sessions. Assuming he feels good after he mixes in breaking balls, he figures to begin a rehab assignment and could be back sometime in June.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Yasiel Puig
BA HR RBI R
.301 13 59 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Gonzalez 18
RBIA. Gonzalez 90
RD. Gordon 73
OPSY. Puig .882
WC. Kershaw 16
ERAC. Kershaw 1.73
SOC. Kershaw 194