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Scott Elbert injury: Dodgers LHP needs Tommy John surgery

Recovery time from the procedure is expected to be 12-16 months. It is the third operation on Elbert's left elbow in the last 10 months.

Ralph Freso

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers relief pitcher Scott Elbert's 2013 season is over before it ever began. The left-hander needs Tommy John surgery and is out for the season, and with an expected recovery of 12-16 months his 2014 campaign is in question as well.

Elbert was diagnosed with a complete tear of his ulnar collateral ligament after meeting with Dr. Neal ElAttrache and having an MRI exam on Tuesday.

The surgery, which will be performed next week, will be the third procedure on Elbert's left elbow in the last 10 months. He had arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 19, 2012 after shutting his season down with two stints on the disabled list last season with elbow inflammation. Elbert needed a second arthroscopic procedure on Jan. 19, which put him behind in spring training.

Elbert, who will turn 28 in August, suffered another setback near the end of spring training and flew to Los Angeles to get an injection of platelet-rich plasma in his left elbow on Mar. 25. He began a minor league rehab assignment on May 10 and pitched eight games combined for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Chattanooga. His elbow did not respond well to his only back-to-back outings, on May 25-26 with the Lookouts, and he was shut down.

"Scotty has been shut down. For how long I don't know," manager Don Mattingly said on Monday. "But we tried those two in a row, after that he hasn't gone anywhere."

Elbert, the Dodgers' first round draft pick out of Seneca High School in Missouri in 2004, is 3-3 with a 3.61 ERA in 120 games with the Dodgers in his career, all in relief, with 92 strikeouts and 41 walks in 92⅓ innings.

At the end of the 2013 season, Elbert will be arbitration eligible with three years, 69 days of service time. With his 2014 season also in jeopardy, he will almost certainly be non-tendered, which could end his Dodgers career.