Chad Billingsley will only miss one start, but will his replacement be Stephen Fife or John Ely?

After a scare the other day due to the results of his first MRI, which led to speculation that he could miss up to a year, Chad Billingsley‘s second MRI came back with much better news for him and the Dodgers.

Manager Don Mattingly said he doubts Tuesday’s starter will be Chad Billingsley, who took an MRI on Monday — his second in as many days — that revealed only inflammation in his sore elbow. Billingsley played catch before Monday’s game and said it went well.

Mattingly added the team was being cautious with scratching Billingsley from his scheduled start on Sunday. After Monday’s game, the manager said the team doesn’t want to push the panic button and feel forced to start Billingsley and risk further injury. Mattingly said he doesn’t foresee any time needed on the disabled list and expects Billingsley to miss just this one start.

But somebody has to start for him, so who will it be? Not Jamey Wright according to Don Mattingly, but Stephen Fife and John Ely seem like prime candidates to me.

A likely scenario would be the team calls up Fife to start Tuesday and sends down either Josh Wall or Shawn Tolleson, who pitched two innings in relief on Monday. Javy Guerra, who is expected back Tuesday or Wednesday from visiting his father in Mexico, would likely return from the bereavement list on Wednesday, when the team sends Fife back down after making the spot start.

It’s interesting that Ely isn’t even mentioned, despite the fact that he’s been by far the best pitcher at AAA for the Dodgers and has MLB experience. Of course, a large reason for the preference for Fife lies in his status on the 40-man roster, but I do wonder if there are other reasons at play.

A while back on True Blue LA, there was a since-deleted FanPost that got featured on the main page. It was from some area scout (or something like that) sharing information from a scouting meeting with Ned Colletti. In the FanPost, along with other solid insight, he mentioned Colletti’s dislike for Ely. Fife, on the other hand, was traded for by Colletti in what I still consider a confusing deal.

I mention this because Ely has a 3.22 ERA, 3.29 FIP, and 2.78 SIERA, whereas Fife is at 4.53, 3.91, and 4.37. It’s not like Fife’s a better prospect than Ely, nor does he have a plus arm, so I’m unsure why Ely merits zero attention in this case.

I understand the complication with the Dodgers 40-man roster, but it’s not like they are short on players who can be designated without worrying about: 1) hurting the team or 2) a team picking the player up.

Just saying.

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