Elbert has been dealing with discomfort for several weeks and walked the only batter he faced Wednesday night. His locker in the visiting clubhouse was cleared out after Thursday's 7-4 loss.
Elbert's uncertain soundness was one reason the Dodgers had left-handed reliever Randy Choate included in the Hanley Ramirez trade. It also would explain why the club recalled reliever Shawn Tolleson on Thursday, one day after sending him down to make room for Choate.
To get Ramirez and Choate, the Dodgers parted with Nathan Eovaldi, who was scheduled to start Friday night against the Giants.
Fife was sent down less than 10 days ago, which would make him ineligible to be recalled, unless he is replacing an injured player. In his only Major League start, he out-pitched Roy Halladay in a no-decision.
Manager Don Mattingly still wouldn't say who would start Friday night, but saying only that it would be someone from within the organization. He said having someone making his second Major League start (as Fife would be doing) against Matt Cain, who threw a perfect game earlier this season, is not exactly ideal, but he can live with it in the big picture.
"I guess I could really worry at this point. We got a different issue, right?" Mattingly said. "We had a big issue [with our offense] and finally got it cleared up [with the Hanley Ramirez acquisition]. The cost was that starter, but [Eovaldi] didn't fare too well there last time."
On June 25 at AT&T Park, Eovaldi allowed the Giants eight runs over five frames in the Dodgers' 8-0 loss.
"This is probably not the best-case scenario," said Mattingly. "I still feel in the long run we're better off. This start, maybe not -- or maybe. There's a give and get, and [Eovaldi] was the price."