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Thursday September 6th, 2012

Los Angeles Dodgers righthander Chad Billingsley has a slight tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and the team has outlined a four- to six-week rehabilitation program for him in the hopes of avoiding Tommy John surgery.

"It makes you cringe a little bit," Billingsley told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, "but they say I have a chance to heal from it before I have to worry about getting cut."

The Dodgers are being conservative because of the timing of Billingsley's injury -- whether he has Tommy John now or two months from now, he will still miss all of next season since the typical recovery time for a pitcher is 12 months. Billingsley emerged as the team's No. 2 starter this season behind Clayton Kershaw, going 10-9 with a 3.55 ERA in 25 starts. He signed a three-year, $35 million extension in March.

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