LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his injured right elbow Thursday "to try to see if he's able to pitch again this year," manager Don Mattingly said.
The Dodgers have been vague in describing the extent of Billingsley's injury, calling it "inflammation," although club CEO Stan Kasten told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday he feared the pitcher was out for the rest of the season.
The PRP injection is generally used for tears in tendons and ligaments, an ominous possibility when it involves a pitcher's elbow. Several Dodgers have used the method in an attempt to accelerate healing while delaying surgery, including reliever Takashi Saito, who used it in 2008 in hopes of recovering from a partial elbow ligament tear.
The Dodgers have not said whether Billingsley has a tear in his elbow, although he did have an MRI that would have revealed a tear last weekend. PRP also has been effective in treating osteoarthritis.
"If he's able to throw after this, he's not finished and if that's the case, he'll start a throwing program," Mattingly said. "If not, there's a different plan. We're trying to see if this helps. It could be something that ends up more than that."
In other medical news, left-hander Ted Lilly played catch for the first time since last weekend's back injury as he tries to heal up in time to provide September relief. Lilly said his shoulder, which likely will need offseason surgery, has improved enough to do that.
Scott Elbert, put on the disabled list Wednesday with recurring elbow pain, was scheduled to see Dr. Neal ElAttrache to determine if there is any treatment that would allow him to pitch in September, even with additional days off to recover. Elbert is expected to need offseason surgery to remove scar tissue from the back of his elbow.