Dodgers' Todd Coffey out for season

Updated: July 4, 2012, 3:13 AM ET
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Todd Coffey will miss the rest of the season with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that will require Tommy John surgery.

Coffey
Coffey

Coffey was roughed up for two runs in the eighth inning in Monday's loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and trainer Sue Falsone visited him on the mound during the appearance, and Coffey insisted he was fine and struck out two batters to finish out the inning. Coffey said he didn't think the injury was all that severe when he woke up Tuesday morning.

"I never felt any sharp pain," Coffey said. "I really didn't anticipate this at all. (Monday) just felt like one of those nights where you have a hard time getting loose and maybe you don't have your best stuff.

"I really just thought it was tendinitis or inflammation. So this came as a bit of a shock. But the MRI doesn't lie. And you can't rehab a tear."

The rotund right-hander had turned into one of the Dodgers' most reliable arms out of the bullpen of late. After a slow start, he hadn't allowed a run in 10 appearances since May 31.

"It's very frustrating," Coffey said. "I feel like I was right in my groove. But I can't change it. I have to spend my energy focused on getting back."

Coffey said he hopes he can return in July or August of 2013. He has had Tommy John surgery once before, and knows the recovery and rehabilitation process well.

"I had a Tommy John 12 years ago. That's a pretty good run," Coffey joked. "I'll be happy if I get another 12 years with this one."

The bad news on Coffey only added to the Dodgers' recent injury woes.

Prior to Tuesday's win over the Cincinnati Reds, Mattingly conceded that right fielder Andre Ethier (oblique) could head to the disabled list as soon as Wednesday after experiencing some pain on a swing earlier Tuesday.

"We're just getting closer to that decision we're going to have to make," Mattingly said. "Basically it keeps pushing it back, and common sense keeps telling us to make a good decision.

"There's not necessarily a day you have to make it, but every day you play, you're playing a man short."

Ethier has missed the past six games after injuring himself on a check swing last Wednesday in San Francisco.

The news was a bit better on second baseman Mark Ellis (leg), who could be activated from the DL on Wednesday if all goes well in his rehabilitation start Tuesday night for the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. That would be a day earlier than anticipated but would simplify the process of filling out the roster with Ethier sidelined.

"Everybody who's seen Mark feels like he's ready to go. Mark feels like he's ready to go," Mattingly said. "He's pretty much had to do everything that you have to do on the field. So he's feeling fine."

Ellis will likely slide right back into the No. 2 spot in the batting order and take over as the everyday second baseman.

"Mark's like the perfect guy (for the No. 2 spot)," Mattingly said. "He knows how to take pitches, when to take 'em, if there's aguy at second he moves 'em. He's the typical unselfish perfect guy for that spot. So yeah, he's going back there."

Catcher A.J. Ellis has done well hitting second the past couple of games, but Mattingly said it's not a long-term solution. Nor is the idea that Ellis, with his .406 on base percentage, could hit leadoff.

"When we were our best club, (A.J. Ellis) was back there seventh or eigth providing a link all the way through," Mattingly said. "Kind of flipping the lineup over, getting the pitcher up. Jamey Carroll was pretty good at that last year, too. There's really an art form to it."

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