LOS ANGELES -- Reliever Scott Elbert, healed from two left elbow operations, will begin a Minor League rehab assignment Friday for Class A Rancho Cucamonga and could be back in the Dodgers' bullpen within seven to 10 days.
Elbert threw a simulated game Saturday in extended spring training in Arizona, employing a revamped delivery designed to ease stress on his elbow after undergoing two offseason operations and a platelet-rich plasma injection during Spring Training.
"I've adjusted my mechanics so I'd have less stress throwing," he said. "Now I feel I'm throwing from my legs and not just my arm."
By raising his elbow above his shoulder during the throwing motion, instead of even with the shoulder, Elbert said he has "better action with the fastball and better depth with the slider. We'll see when there's hitters, but it's a significant tweak. If you compare it on the video, it's completely different and feels different."
Whether it's the surgeries or the mechanics or both, Elbert said he's also noticed a difference in the way his arm feels the day after throwing.
"It's made such a difference bouncing back," Elbert said. "Now I don't even feel like I played catch the next day. Today I didn't hold back. I feel I would have competed if I had pitched in a game tonight. Knowing that gives me confidence when I come back and they shouldn't be scared to put me back in the situations I used to pitch, but we'll see."
Elbert said his operations were in different locations, one in the back of the elbow, the other slightly higher. The first was to remove scar tissue, the other a microfracture procedure to smooth an irregularity and stimulate cartilage regrowth.
Since Elbert is out of options, he can't be sent down to the Minor Leagues for any reason other than a rehab assignment without the risk of another club claiming him.