Lefty Elbert needs Tommy John surgery

Lefty Elbert needs Tommy John surgery

Lefty Elbert needs Tommy John surgery

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers left-handed relief pitcher Scott Elbert will undergo Tommy John elbow reconstruction next week and will be sidelined for 12 to 16 months, the club revealed on Wednesday.

Elbert had another setback recently while trying to return from a pair of elbow operations. The first procedure, Sept. 19, removed scar tissue in the back of the elbow. A Jan. 23 arthroscopic microfracture procedure involved a new area of cartilage damage.

Despite all that, an MRI exam on Tuesday revealed that Elbert had a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament, which holds his left elbow together. Dr. Neal ElAttrache will perform Elbert's surgery.

Elbert's operation in January led the Dodgers to sign free agent lefty J.P. Howell to a $2.85 million contract during the offseason. Howell has a 2.42 ERA and just had a 12-inning scoreless streak snapped.

Elbert, a 27-year-old former first-round pick, went 1-1 with a 2.20 ERA over 43 appearances last year before being placed on the disabled list for a second time at the end of August.

His injury provided an opening for lefty Paco Rodriguez, who was the first player from the 2012 First-Year Player Draft to reach the Major Leagues and had a 1.35 ERA in 11 appearances last year.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.