Just when it seemed as if things were getting brighter for the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff, the team was dealt another blow on Tuesday afternoon, when they announced that Chad Billingsley would be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a groin injury.
According to team reports, Billingsley suffered the injury sometime during his start in Friday's 10-1 loss against the Los Angeles Angels.
The results of an MRI revealed nothing, but Billingsley still showed signs of strain in a throwing session on Tuesday. Dodgers manager Joe Torre quickly determined that the disabled list would be a wise precaution.
"It's [a groin injury], the one you can predict the least, because you can warm up, you can have a simulated game, but until you get on the mound and push off in a regular game, you're never sure," Torre said. "So we're going to take the safe route."
Depending on the exact nature of the injury, groin problems can be very serious; the best medicine, in most cases, is just plain rest.
After Friday's defeat to the Angels, Billingsley's season record was 6-4 with a 4.34 earned run average. His next scheduled start was set for the series finale on Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds.
John Ely (3-3, 3.38 ERA) will be moved up in the rotation to start in Billingsley's place, while Carlos Monasterios will start on Friday to fill the void in the rotation.
Monasterios (3-1, 2.98 ERA) assumed he was headed to the bullpen with the return of starter Vicente Padilla, who is scheduled to pitch Saturday at Boston.
Padilla's start will mark only his fifth of the season, and his first since going on the DL with a wrist injury in late April.
Critics around the majors are already saying that this is an "injury of convenience" for the Dodgers, because otherwise, Los Angeles would have been forced to reassign someone on the roster to make room for Padilla.
Many thought the player likely for re-assignment was Justin Miller, who has no options left on his contract. Miller was 0-0 with a 3.48 ERA in seven appearances and 10.1 innings pitched for the Dodgers this season.
It was doubtful that Miller would have cleared waivers. Several teams already showed interest in Miller, as middle relievers are at a premium this time of the year for many squads throughout MLB.
Middle relief is plentiful for the Dodgers right now, both on the big league roster and throughout the farm system.
However, questions are still circulating in Dodgerland about acquiring another starter, but any trade talks being made in the front office are unknown at this time.
Dodgers owner and chairman Frank McCourt is still insisting that money is not a factor in the daily operation of the baseball club.
Whether or not Los Angeles will make any moves in terms of obtaining a starting pitcher before the trade deadline on July 31 remains to be seen.