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Dodgers looking hard for another lefty

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have a good left-handed reliever, J.P. Howell, but they would prefer to have two.

In fact, in their last series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said the lack of a second left-hander made for some uncomfortable managerial decisions.

Time is running out, with just 16 games left, but the Dodgers are hoping that two left-handers working their way back from injuries could finally give them the second lefty they've been lacking in the bullpen, both for this month and, perhaps, the playoffs.

Paco Rodriguez, who had a strained muscle in his upper back, threw to some hitters before Friday night’s game at AT&T Park, and Mattingly said the team likely will decide on his fate Saturday.

Another option is Scott Elbert, a former first-round pick who once threw in the mid-90s but was taken off the roster in July as he worked his way back from three elbow operations, including Tommy John surgery. On Friday, the Dodgers selected Elbert’s contract from Triple-A Albuquerque and designated pitcher Red Patterson for assignment.

Elbert hasn't pitched in a major league game since August 2012. In 24 minor league games at three different levels, Elbert was 0-3 with a 5.85 ERA. Elbert said he has lost some velocity, down to about 90 or 91 mph, but he thinks he can get it back eventually.

"I'm able to compete with what I've got," Elbert said. "I feel 100 percent, but if it's back at 90 percent, it's still coming out pretty good."