Dodgers' Elbert undergoes elbow surgery

Dodgers' Elbert undergoes elbow surgery

Published Jan. 23, 2013 4:45 p.m. ET

Left-handed reliever Scott Elbert is unlikely to be ready for opening day after he underwent elbow surgery for the second time in four months on Wednesday.

Elbert, 27, will start physical therapy in three days but won’t resume throwing for six weeks, according to the Dodgers.

The hard-throwing veteran underwent a season-ending operation in September. He started feeling discomfort a few weeks into his winter throwing program, at which point the Dodgers elected to treat the problem conservatively.

But when the pain persisted, the Dodgers decided surgery was necessary. Dr. Neal ElAttrache discovered a newly damaged area of cartilage in Elbert's elbow.

Elbert figures to start playing catch less than a month before the Dodgers’ April 1 season opener against the San Francisco Giants.

With Elbert expected to be sidelined, recently added J.P. Howell could be the only established left-hander in the bullpen. Rookie Paco Rodriguez, who pitched in 11 games last season, could make the team as its second left-handed reliever.

A former first-round pick, Elbert posted a career-best 2.20 earned-run average in 43 appearances last season.

--Dylan Hernandez