GLENDALE, Ariz. — Chad Billingsley sat at his locker at Camelback Ranch on Friday, demonstrating the difference between his slider and his cut fastball with an imaginary baseball.
One pitch involved a twisting motion that began with his fingers and shot up his forearm to his elbow. The other pitch did not — just a flicking motion with his wrist, nothing violent or severe.
Yet he’s been allowed to throw the former pitch, his slider. He still hasn’t thrown the latter, his cut fastball, and isn’t sure when he will. That’s the bad news.
The good news for Billingsley is that he can count on one hand the number of benchmarks still to cross off in his recovery from Tommy John surgery in April 2013. He still hasn’t thrown a cutter off a mound and he still hasn’t faced live hitting or pitched in a game.
Even that will change soon. The plan calls for Billingsley to throw to minor-league hitters at Camelback Ranch sometime next week, around the time the Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia. When he throws “depends on whether I get four or five days’ rest” after his next bullpen session Monday.
Billingsley reported no setbacks one day after throwing a 36-pitch bullpen session Thursday. He hasn’t had any major setbacks yet. The best-case, late-April/early-May return to the majors that Billingsley projected at the start of camp is still in play.
Some bullet points for a Pi Day:
• Brandon League is throwing today in a minor-league game at Camelback Ranch and again tomorrow either in a minor-league or major-league setting. Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt is working with the right-hander on a series of adjustments; League has allowed runs in all three of his Cactus League outings. “It’s so much better (in a minor-league game) when you’re trying to do that work, trying to get something to fall into the slots,” manager Don Mattingly said. “When you get back out onto the field with the fans, it just changes the whole thing. This is a way to hopefully work on something and keep progressing.”
• Matt Kemp is getting a scheduled day off from his rehab today.
• A team of Swedish researchers found through examining studies in sports injuries that a protein in the central nervous system could provide a tool for diagnosing concussions.
• If nothing else, this vision for the future of baseball stadiums is fun to think about.
• There’s something appropriately daydreamy about this chillwave piece from Twin Sister: