LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers placed right-hander Chad Billingsley on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday with an inflamed elbow flexor tendon, and they recalled Stephen Fife from Triple-A Albuquerque to start on Tuesday night in Billingsley's place.
The move to the DL will be retroactive to July 8, the day after Billingsley's most recent start. He will be eligible to return on Monday, and Billingsley said he has been told he will start that night against the Cardinals.
Manager Don Mattingly and Billingsley both said on Tuesday that the starter is expected to miss only one start.
Billingsley is going to throw a bullpen session on Friday after taking a couple of days off to rest his elbow, which he said feels the same as it has the past few days.
Mattingly said an issue like this normally wouldn't warrant a trip to the DL since Billingsley is expected to miss just one start. Thanks to the All-Star break and time since Billingsley last started, the team was able to make the move to bring in Fife for the spot start. As for the two MRIs and scratched start on Sunday, Mattingly said the team didn't want to take any risks.
"You say something the night before you pitch and it sends us into cautious mode," he said. "We already have one of our starters [Ted Lilly] on the DL.
"We couldn't send him out there without getting it looked at."
Billingsley, who said there were no repercussions from Mattingly for waiting to report the pain, is riding a five-game losing streak and hasn't lasted more than six innings in a game since June 10. He is 4-9 with a 4.30 ERA in 18 starts.
Fife, who was scratched from his scheduled start on Monday night, is 7-5 with a 4.53 ERA. John Ely has been the most effective starting pitcher at Albuquerque, but he was taken off the Major League roster last winter. Promoting Fife means that management does not need to remove anyone from the 40-man roster.
Fife is a sinkerballer with good control who keeps the ball down and changes speed.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Alex Angert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.