Billingsley Slips on Ice and Breaks Leg

With Brad Penny and Derek Lowe, supposed to be the #1 and #2 pitchers on the staff in 2008, plus Greg Maddux, Chan Ho Park, and Jason Johnson, leaving the team, one might think the Dodgers pitching problems have reached critical mass. Not so. Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley suffered a broken left fibula when he slipped on ice in front of his home in Reading, Pennsylvania over the weekend.

The 24-year-old suffered a spiral fracture of the smaller of two bones in the shin (the fibula) and surgeon inserted a plate in an operation to allow for the fracture to heal. The leg will be in a cast for two weeks.

The surgery went as planned and he is expected to be healed and available to begin throwing bullpen sessions at the beginning of Spring Training and to be ready for the 2009 season.

Former Dodgers pitcher Dave Stewart, said it was the first snow of the year and Billingsley came out of the house and slipped. The doctors said it was much better than they originally thought and was expected to be released from the hospital today (Sunday).

That makes Hiroki Kuroda the only pitcher in the Dodgers' starting rotation for the entire 2008 season still healthy.

Billingsley led the starters with 16 wins, a 3.14 ERA (seventh in the league) and 201 strikeouts (fifth in the league) and was second with 200.2 innings pitched. The first-round pick in 2003 began the season 0-4, but over his final 12 starts of the regular season went 7-1 with a 2.93 ERA.

In the playoffs, Billingsley won Game 2 of the National League Division Series in Chicago, allowing one run on five hits in 6.2 innings. Then against the Phillies in the National League Championship Series, he was the loser in Games 2 and 5, allowing 10 runs in five innings.

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