Chad Billingsley makes emotional return to Dodger Stadium with Philadelphia Phillies

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Billingsley also switched agents following the 2014 season. His new representative, Steve Hilliard, found that Billingsley wasn’t a forgotten man after all.“I would say over three-quarters of baseball, I had calls from,” Billingsley said. “First time going through that whole process, it was fun. A lot of people still wanted me. They were constantly communicating. It was a fun process. I knew I was going to be somewhere, it was just a matter of where I wanted to go.”After splitting the off-season between his home in Pennsylvania and rehab in Arizona, Billingsley signed a one-year contract with Philadelphia on Jan. 29.Logic dictates that this is a transition year for both the pitcher and his new team. The Phillies recently hired a new special assistant to the president, veteran baseball executive Andy MacPhail, and a new interim manager, Pete Mackanin. Ryne Sandberg resigned June 26.Billingsley is getting $1.5 million from the Phillies this season, a steep pay cut from his base salary of $12 million a year ago. A return to form could make him an even hotter commodity on the next free-agent market.Billingsley isn’t there yet. The routine of pitching every fifth day isn’t routine for him yet. Maybe when that happens, if it happens, he can look ahead to next season.“I always knew I was going to get back,” he said. “You never want to finish your career on something like that, not being able to make it back. I’m fortunate enough to be able to make it back.”Rollins reunitedJimmy Rollins had batted against every current major league team (and the Montreal Expos) before this week — except for one. The Dodgers shortstop completed his collection in the second inning Monday, when he lined out to Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard to conclude a 10-pitch at-bat. Rollins spent 15 seasons with the Phillies (2000-14) and still leads the franchise in hits, doubles and stolen bases. Monday was his first chance to catch up with former teammates in his new uniform.“I cut my ties when I did and I had to leave all that in the past and enable me to move forward and accept who I am as being a Dodger,” Rollins said. “This is where I am today.”Rollins waived his no-trade clause last December to come to the Dodgers, a team with a lengthy history like the Phillies but with a better chance of contending in 2015. Both mattered to the 36-year-old shortstop.True to expectations, the Phillies have the worst record in baseball this season. The Dodgers are in first place in the National League West.“I’m glad to have gotten out when I did,” Rollins said, “but I’m glad to have gotten here.”AlsoThe Dodgers made a roster move prior to Monday’s game, transferring pitcher Paco Rodriguez to the 60-day disabled list and optioning pitcher Daniel Coulombe to Triple-A Oklahoma City. … Rodriguez isn’t eligible to return until July 28, but is expected to be sidelined until at least mid-September following surgery to remove loose bodies from his left elbow. … Rodriguez’s 40-man roster spot went to pitcher Eric Surkamp, who entered the game in the third inning.CALL HIM MR. PHILLIEJimmy Rollins faced the Phillies for the first time Monday as an opposing player after spending his first 15 major-league seasons in Philadelphia. Where he ranks on the franchise’s all-time list (since 1900):Games Played: 2nd (2,090) Hits: 1st (2,306)Runs: 2nd (1,325)Doubles: 1st (479) Triples: 2nd (111)Home Runs: 9th (216)RBIs: 6th (887) Stolen Bases: 1st (453) “I don’t know.”This makes sense when you consider the past 12 days, 12 months and 12 years of Billingsley’s life on the field.Tuesday will mark Billingsley’s fifth start this season and his second since returning from a strained lat muscle. He’s spent more time on the Phillies’ disabled list this year than he has on the active roster.That was the case in Billingsley’s final two seasons with the Dodgers, who drafted him out of high school in 2003 and bought out the 2015 option in his contract last October.By then, Billingsley was a forgotten man in Los Angeles. Tommy John surgery in April 2013, followed by flexor tendon surgery in June 2014, all but derailed his career. A new regime was in place and the 219 games Billingsley pitched in a Dodgers uniform — only two from 2013 to 2014 — seemed a distant memory.center_img For Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Chad Billingsley, nothing about this feels normal yet. Pitching in Dodger Stadium. Pitching in a Phillies uniform. Pitching every fifth day.“A lot of emotions,” Billingsley said Monday.Which emotions?last_img