05/07/2013 9:06 PM ET
Elbert to start rehab Friday with Rancho Cucamonga
By Ken Gurnick and Austin Laymance / MLB.com
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.
Greinke not ready for game situations yet
LOS ANGELES -- Zack Greinke looked impressive throwing another bullpen session Tuesday, but he said advancing to a game situation still depends on the complete healing of the fractured left collarbone that required April 13 surgery and put him on the disabled list.
"The main concern is running into people," said Greinke, who was lucky in a sense that he didn't break his right collarbone.
The fracture was caused when Greinke lowered his left shoulder to take the blow of the Padres' Carlos Quentin, who charged the mound after being hit by a Greinke pitch for the third time in their careers. The force of the blow on the shoulder created a significant fracture of Greinke's collarbone closer to the shoulder than the sternum.
The fracture was repaired with a metal plate and screws, and the original prognosis was a two-month recovery. Greinke is ahead of that, but running and fielding also pose potential risks to the healing bone.
Greinke described his pitching arm strength as "pretty good" after a third bullpen session Tuesday. He's taken a couple of "dry swings" with a bat, "but I didn't try to hit an imaginary home run." He said catching throws is "pretty easy."
"I feel more than you would with a normal arm, but not anything major," Greinke said.
Greinke's normal bullpen sessions are brief (25 pitches) and more intense. He estimated he made 60 throws Saturday and Tuesday "just building endurance" and "no pitches are a problem." Manager Don Mattingly said Greinke's bullpen pitches have already been clocked as fast as 90 mph.
Greinke opposes the suggestion that baseball adopt a brawl policy similar to the NBA or hockey, with immediate consequences for a third party entering a fight.
"It think it's part of the game, or has been forever and any rule changes could backfire in different ways," Greinke said.
"What do you do, get in a fight and go one-on-one until some person dies? The umpire doesn't do much. It's not like a brawl and they're coming off the bench bringing weapons. Most people coming out are trying to calm things down, not encourage it."
With Hairston on DL, Herrera called up from Triple-A
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers recalled utility man Elian Herrera from Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday and placed Jerry Hairston on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain.
Herrera, 28, was hitting .250 with two home runs, four doubles and 16 RBIs in 27 games with the Isotopes this year.
Herrera made his Major League debut with the Dodgers last May 15. He played second base, shortstop and third base, in addition to all three outfield positions last season in the Majors. Herrera appeared in 67 games with the club in 2012, hitting .251 with one homer, 10 doubles and 17 RBIs.
Manager Don Mattingly said he anticipates using Herrera in the outfield more than the infield, where the club has more options.
"He gives us both corners, and a right-handed bat," Mattingly said before Tuesday's game against the D-backs. "It's something that we had with Jerry."
Hairston tweaked his left groin while running the bases during Saturday's 10-9 loss at San Francisco. Hairston pinch-hit Sunday, but he did not play the field. The 36-year-old tried to work out with the team before Monday's game against the D-backs, but he limped off the field after warming up.
"I just couldn't really run," Hairston said Tuesday. "I'll get it right and be ready to go in two weeks. I've just got to let it calm down."
Hairston is the 10th Dodgers player to spend time on the disabled list this season. He is hitting .255 with one homer and five RBIs in 20 games, including 11 starts. Hairston has appeared at third, first, left field and right field.
Did management consider calling up outfielder Yasiel Puig, the organization's top prospect, from Double-A Chattanooga?
"Puig's a whole different story," Mattingly said.
Mattingly said he's concerned about the lack of a power bat on the bench and said the club is looking to address that. The manager mentioned Scott Van Slyke as an option.
Van Slyke is hitting .393 with nine homers and 28 RBIs in 31 games with Albuquerque. He's been playing first base, but Mattingly said Van Slyke would move back to the outfield with the Isotopes.
"He's played the outfield pretty much his whole life," Mattingly said, "so just getting him back out there and getting a feel for fly balls and jumps and things like that."