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Dodgers lose starter for season to elbow injury

Chad Billingsley of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches on April 15, 2013 in Los Angeles
Chad Billingsley of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on April 15, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Billingsley will be lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers for at least 12 months after making only two starts this s

Starting pitcher Chad Billingsley will be lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers for at least 12 months after making only two starts this season, the Major League Baseball club announced on Tuesday.

Billingsley, a 28-year-old American right-hander who had been slated to start last Sunday against Baltimore, was instead placed on the disabled list two days ago because of right elbow pain after an MRI exam last Saturday.

The Dodgers said on Tuesday that Billingsley will undergo "Tommy John" surgery, replacing an elbow ligament with a ligament from another part of the body, on Wednesday.

Billingsley was 1-0 with a 3.00 earned-run average over two starts this season, having last pitched on April 15 when the Dodgers lost 6-3 to San Diego.

Stephen Fife took the starting lineup spot vacated by Billingsley, who missed the final two months of the 2012 campaign with a torn elbow ligament that he treated with platelet-rich plasma injections rather than have surgery.

Billingsley's questionable status for the full season prompted the Dodgers to sign free agent pitchers Zack Greinke and Ryu Hyun-Jin, the latter a 26-year-old South Korean southpaw who helped his homeland win 2008 Olympic gold.

At 8-10, the Dodgers are off to a somewhat disappointing start to the six-month National League season given their off-season spending to rival the high-priced payroll of the American League's New York Yankees.

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