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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Dodgers' Chad Billingsley says his arm 'feels unbelievable'

By on 2/09/2014 09:30:00 AM

Tommy John surgery doesn't seem to have affected Chad Billingsley's optimism about returning to pitch for the Dodgers; in fact, the right-hander seems to think his arm feels better than it has done for some time. Yesterday Billingsley told reporters, including Ken Gurnick of, that he hasn't experienced any setbacks from the surgery and has actually found the recovery process to be 'smooth'.

"With Tommy John, there's such a high success rate, and my arm feels unbelievable," he said. "You have guys who take a while with their range of motion, but everything has come easy to me. It's been a smooth rehab process."

The Dodgers are keen to play down Billingsley's recovery, as he's still a few months away from the expected return date. Manager Don Mattingly called it "the dangerous time" for the 29-year-old, as he's not ready to go out and start trying to do what the other Los Angeles pitchers are doing as they prepare for Spring Training. Billingsley admitted that the coaching staff have been saying "don't throw 95 mph yet". It does sound as though he is progressing nicely with his rehab, with a successful 36 pitch session on Friday and plans to add his curveball to the mix by the end of the month.

By Alex Brady, via Wikimedia Commons (cropped)
2014 is certainly looking a lot more promising for Billingsley than his injury-ruined 2013. He had already suffered a partial ulnar collateral ligament tear in the second half of 2012 that caused elbow soreness, sending him to the DL for the last month of the season. He returned to the DL less than a month into the 2013 season and subsequently underwent Tommy John surgery as it emerged the ligament had not healed properly. Prior to 2012, Billingsley had four consecutive seasons of at least 31 starts and 188 innings pitched and despite missing almost all of last year, still has almost 1200 major league innings under his belt thanks to the fact that he made his debut when he was just 21.


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