"It's been off and on for a while, but I don't think that's necessarily why I haven't been pitching well," the 35-year-old left-hander said. "Some of it is location. It all goes together because you don't have the normal feel of your pitches. I do believe I can pitch through it."
Manager Don Mattingly revealed Lilly's condition when he announced Saturday that the starting rotation would be juggled, rookie Rubby De La Rosa swapping spots with Lilly and starting Monday night.
Lilly has a 7.01 ERA in five June starts. On the season, he's allowed a team-high 16 home runs. Overall, he's 5-8 with a 4.97 ERA.
Because of the discomfort, he missed several between-starts bullpen sessions. He took the extra day between starts this time so his elbow could handle a bullpen session Saturday. He said there's "a fine line" between throwing enough to make mechanical adjustments and throwing too much to irritate the elbow.
"I'm not walking guys because the ball is the size of a basketball to the hitters, so they're not swinging and missing," he said. "They seem to be seeing the breaking ball. I need to figure out what I have to do to make the ball look smaller. It's about timing, arm slot, release point. You get all of that right, and you get back in the right frame of mind.
"When you've gotten beat up, you have to battle those doubts that start creeping in. You've got the physical side, then the mental side. I have to get both straightened out. My guess is, there's a large number of players that have [elbow] issues like I have, you just don't know about it."