Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bullpen for Billingsley

Chad Billingsley was notified that he will be pitching out of the bullpen to start next season. Apparently, Ken Gurnick was notified as well.

Manager Grady Little said the decision on Billingsley was the result of the Dodgers' depth of starters and timing. It was made now, in part, to free up innings for the numerous starting pitchers preparing for the season, in part so Billingsley can focus on his new role.

"Like we told him, a lot of positives will come from this. This will be good for him and good for the club to start the season," said Little. "It won't do anything but help him going through a season like that. We still feel he will be a dominant starter in the Major Leagues for a long time, but he's still got things to learn.

"With the situation we have right now, we have the luxury to do this. We're not only doing it for him, but for us. A lot of times you have to bring a young prospect and put him right in there, when all things being equal, you'd like him to get a year in under his belt."...

He cannot be faulted for his spring results, as Billingsley has not allowed a run in 6 1/3 innings, with two walks and two strikeouts. He has not been given a start this spring.

So that leaves Hong-Chih Kuo, Mark Hendrickson, and Brett Tomko to fight for the final spot (assuming that Joe Mays and Eric Stults are dark horse candidates). I feel badly for Billingsley as I think he's got a lot of upside potential in the future, and hopefully he doesn't get too down about this decision. I also hope he isn't offered up for trade bait to someone else.