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Dodgers start 2014 with almost $50 million on disabled list

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A trio of former All Stars due $48.75 million in salary this season starts 2014 on the Dodger disabled list.

With baseball's highest payroll, the team hopes to absorb the temporary loss of Matt Kemp, Josh Beckett, and Chad Billingsley.

From August 2009 through mid-May 2012, Kemp played in 399 consecutive games -- an MLB-high at the time -- before going on the DL. Since, he's suffered through two injury-plagued seasons.

The Dodgers believe Kemp's presence will boost the offense of the reigning NL West champs.

If Kemp has his way, he'll return sometime in April.

Beckett went 0-5 with a 5.19 earned run average in 2013 before season-ending surgery to clear up nerve issues in his pitching hand. Currently he’s on the DL with a strained right thumb and could return as the team’s fifth starter in April.

After off-season Tommy John surgery, Chad Billingsley hopes to take the mound as early as the middle of May. The Dodgers hope the 2009 All Star can pitch effectively again this season.

Scott Elbert and Onelki Garcia, a pair of lefty relief specialists, also start the year on the shelf. Each of them is on the 60-day DL.

Do you love the Dodgers? If so, you'll want to follow the Dodgers on Facebook, where you can see pictures and share your thoughts with other fans.

The article’s author, Jim Smiley welcomes your email feedback. Read more about Jim in part one and part two of an exclusive interview about his baseball experience.

Matt Kemp is owed $21 million in 2014
Matt Kemp is owed $21 million in 2014 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Matt Kemp is owed $21 million in 2014

Matt Kemp played in all of his team's games from August, 2009 through May, 2012. By the time he went on the DL, the 2011 Hank Aaron Award winner's 399 consecutive games played led the Major Leagues. Over the next two seasons, he missed 145 contests.

Josh Beckett is guaranteed $15.75 million this season
Josh Beckett is guaranteed $15.75 million this season Harry How/Getty Images

Josh Beckett is guaranteed $15.75 million this season

Former World Series MVP Josh Beckett is in the final season of a four-year, $68 million contract. He was winless in eight starts for Los Angeles in 2013. Beckett hopes to return as early as mid-April and pitch his way onto the rotation.

Chad Billingsley will make $12 million in 2014
Chad Billingsley will make $12 million in 2014 Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Chad Billingsley will make $12 million in 2014

After posting double-digit win totals in every season from 2007-2012, Chad Billingsley tore his ulnar collateral ligament in 2013. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, he hopes to return to form in 2014. He and Beckett figure to bolster the team’s pitching depth.

Scott Elbert is signed for $575,000 for the 2014 season.
Scott Elbert is signed for $575,000 for the 2014 season. Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Scott Elbert is signed for $575,000 for the 2014 season.

On the 60-day DL after undergoing surgery on his left (pitching) elbow, Scott Elbert also had an off-season appendectomy.  The move to the DL for the 28-year-old lefty is retroactive to February 8th. Elbert pitched in combined 90 games for the Dodgers in 2011 and 2012. He's expected to return mid-season.

Onelki Garcia pitched in three games for Los Angeles in 2013
Onelki Garcia pitched in three games for Los Angeles in 2013 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Onelki Garcia pitched in three games for Los Angeles in 2013

A native of Cuba, Onelki Garcia posted a 13.50 earned run average in his brief stint in the big leagues last year. The 6’3” 225 pound lefty is not eligible for salary arbitration until 2017.  Garcia is on the 60-day DL recovering from November’s elbow surgery.

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