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01/23/2013 5:48 PM ET

Elbert out indefinitely after second surgery

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers left-handed reliever Scott Elbert underwent a second arthroscopic operation on his left elbow Wednesday.

With Spring Training starting in three weeks, the Dodgers announced that Elbert will begin a throwing program in six weeks.

Elbert's new problem sheds a different light on the Jan. 7 signing of free-agent left-handed reliever J.P. Howell for $2.85 million. Elbert apparently felt pain around that time, conservative treatment was tried, but the elbow did not respond.

Elbert underwent a first procedure Sept. 19 to remove scar tissue in the back of the elbow, and earlier this month general manager Ned Colletti said he had no reason to believe that any of his recovering players would not be ready for the start of the season.

Wednesday's procedure involved "a new area of cartilage damage [that] was discovered and debrided" by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, according to a club announcement.

Elbert went 1-1 with a 2.20 ERA over 43 appearances last year before landing on the disabled list for a second time at the end of August. His injury could provide an opening for lefty Paco Rodriguez, who was the first player from last year's Draft to reach the Major Leagues and had a 1.35 ERA in 11 appearances.

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