Less than a week after expressing doubt whether he would ever pitch again, Josh Beckett said Wednesday that he was confident he would one day stand on a major league mound again.
But Beckett acknowledged he didn't know if that day would come this season or next, as he said he could undergo a season-ending operation if rehabilitation doesn't rid him of numbness in his pitching hand.
Beckett visited specialists in the Dallas area for the last three days, after which he and the Dodgers decided he wouldn't throw for the next four weeks as he underwent a rigorous rehabilitation program.
Beckett said learning the details of why he was feeling what he felt — specifically, that a nerve was compressed — made him "absolutely" more optimistic about his pitching future. He also felt better learning that such pitchers as Kenny Rogers, Matt Harrison and Mike Adams recovered from similar injuries. Nerve problems have limited Chris Carpenter to three regular-season starts since the start of last season, but Beckett said Carpenter's issues were more severe.
"We're going to do everything we can to beat this thing without surgery," Beckett said. "We're going to be doing a lot of aggressive rehabilitation of trying to get the outlet where the nerve and artery and stuff go, under the clavicle and above the first rib, they are going to try to open that up. We'll do some things to shift some things around and maybe work on posture a little bit."
If that fails, Beckett expects to undergo an operation.
"You really don't want this to leak into next year," he said. "What's best for the organization is me being healthy and helping this team win next year if I can't do it this year."
But Beckett described the surgical route as "Plan F."
"It's tough," he said. "I don't want to walk around here with a ski mask and steal paychecks. That's not fun, and I want to help these guys win and be a part of that."
Elbert out for season
Scott Elbert's season ended before it started, as the Dodgers announced the left-handed reliever will undergo season-ending reconstructive elbow surgery next week.
Elbert underwent two minor elbow operations in the off-season and spent spring training building up arm strength. He pitched in eight minor league games last month and appeared to be close to returning to the major leagues when he suddenly suffered a setback. Elbert underwent an MRI exam Tuesday that revealed a complete tear of his ulnar collateral ligament, which will require surgery to repair.
Elbert is expected to be sidelined for 12 to 16 months.
The 27-year-old posted a 2.20 earned-run average in 43 appearances last season.
President Stan Kasten said the Dodgers haven't been contacted by the league office about its investigation of a Miami clinic that allegedly distributed performance-enhancing drugs to baseball players. No Dodgers have been publicly linked to the clinic. … Matt Guerrier threw on flat ground a day after being hit by a comebacker in his pitching hand. Manager Don Mattingly said he expected Guerrier to avoid the disabled list and thought he could be available to pitch Thursday.