The Dodgers got bad news on Wednesday, as relief pitcher Scott Elbert underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow in Los Angeles, the second procedure on his elbow in four months. Elbert had arthroscopic surgery to clean up scar tissue in his left elbow on Sept. 19, and the original plan was for him to resume his normal offseason throwing program in January and was expected to be ready for spring training.
The new procedure was to clean up a new area of cartilage damage in is left elbow, and the 40-minute procedure was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Elbert can begin physical therapy in three days, and can resume a throwing program in six weeks, which could put his status for opening day in jeopardy.
Elbert made his first opening day roster in 2012, and he was 1-1 with a 2.20 ERA in 43 games, with 29 strikeouts and 13 walks in 32⅔ innings. But he had two stints on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation, missing 22 games in July and August, then missing the final 34 games of the year.
The Elbert news puts the signing of left-handed pitcher J.P. Howell in a whole new light. The signing of Howell might not necessarily give the Dodgers a pair of southpaws in the bullpen, though Paco Rodriguez may have something to say about that during spring training. Perhaps this is more like last season, when Todd Coffey was signed as a reaction to Blake Hawksworth needing a second surgical procedure on his elbow.