Dodgers 2014 Player Previews: Scott Elbert, Plagued By Injuries

Elbert pitches 5

2013 stats (minor league): Eight games, one start, 2-0 record, 7.1 innings pitched, two runs allowed, 2.45 ERA, 0.68 WHIP.

Left-handed pitcher Scott Elbert was taken 17th overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2004 amateur draft and has largely been a disappointment. His first appearance with the Dodgers came in 2008 when he pitched in 10 games. Elbert had a significant increase in appearances with 47 in 2012 and 43 in 2012.  However, the 28-year-old has undergone three elbow procedures dating back to September of 2012 and his chances of wearing a Dodgers uniform in 2014 appear slim.

Elbert’s aforementioned elbow procedure in 2012 was to remove scar tissue that had formed in the back of his left elbow.  That was followed up by another procedure in January of 2013, which repaired cartilage damage in the same elbow.  Elbert then suffered a setback in his rehab and underwent Tommy John surgery in June of 2013, which cemented his unavailability for last season.  Following the surgery, the Dodgers set the initial timetable for recovery at 12 to 16 months.  The left-hander’s last appearance in the Majors came on Aug. 26, 2012. 

Coincidentally, Elbert’s injury woes opened the door for the emergence of J.P. Howell and Paco Rodriguez.  Without the assurance of Elbert’s availability for the 2013 season, Howell was signed to a one-year, $2.85 million contract and he has since been re-signed to a two-year deal.

When Elbert was placed on the disabled in August of 2013, it meant a roster spot was available and that was given to Rodriguez.  Like Howell, Rodriguez became a mainstay in the bullpen last season and he figures to hold a similar role in 2014.  Elbert’s 2014 outlook became even more grim when he was placed on the 60-day disabled list to make room for the signing of another left-hander, former Atlanta Brave Paul Maholm.

The Dodgers avoided going to arbitration with Elbert when they agreed to terms on a one-year, $575,000 contract last November.

2014 prediction: Not only must Elbert deal with potentially trying to unseat Howell and Rodriguez in the bullpen, his 12-16 month recovery timeframe makes that even more difficult. Conceivably, the earliest Elbert would be ready to pitch is three months into the season.  By that point, Howell and Rodriguez should be well entrenched in their roles on the team.  That being said, Elbert will more than likely find himself in the minor league system whenever he is able to pitch and barring an extreme number of injuries,  won’t make any contributions to the big league roster in 2014.


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