Chad Billingsley has arguably been the Los Angeles Dodgers' best pitcher since the All-Star break, but the club could be without him for the rest of the season, if not longer.
The right-hander received an injection of platelet-rich plasma in his right elbow on Thursday. The move was an attempt to see if Billingsley can pitch again this season.
An initial MRI showed enough, even with swelling around his inflamed right elbow, to put him on the disabled list on August 25. Billingsley will have another MRI on his elbow once the swelling goes down to see if there is any further damage.
There have been two red flags from within the organization regarding Billingsley's health in the last week. In the press conference to announce the nine-player trade with the Boston Red Sox that included pitcher Josh Beckett, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti mentioned that Billingsley "would be out for a long time." Then on Wednesday in a question-and-answer session with fans, team CEO Stan Kasten said he feared Billingsley would be out for the rest of the year.
If the second MRI reveals a tear in Billingsley's elbow, it would affect 2013 as well. The platelet-rich plasma, or "PRP," injection is an alternative or perhaps a last-ditch effort to avoid surgery.
"If he's able to throw after this, he's not finished, and if that's the case, he'll start a throwing program," manager Don Mattingly said. "If not, there's a different plan. We're trying to see if this helps. It could be something that ends up more than that."
For now, the Dodgers will wait and see just when Billingsley will be able to pitch again.