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This time, it's the Scott Elbert as advertised

June 5, 2011 |  9:16 am


And now a quick moment to tip the cap to left-hander Scott Elbert (pictured above).

Elbert’s rise to the majors has been an unexpectedly rough ride. In parts of three previous seasons, the former No.1 draft pick had a 6.84 career earned-run average. He was so discouraged, or stressed, he left triple-A Albuquerque for personal reasons the last half of the 2010 season.

When called up last month -- ironically to replace Hong-Chih Kuo, who had gone on the disabled list with anxiety disorder -- he was hardly tearing up Albuquerque (5.02 ERA, 1.53 WHIP).

Yet Elbert, 25, clearly has been a different pitcher thus far with the Dodgers. In 10 appearances, he has yet to allow a run.

And it’s not like he’s facing banjo hitters. Saturday after the Dodgers had stunned the Reds by rallying to tie the game with five runs in the top of the eighth, he came on in the bottom of the inning and struck out Joey Votto, got Scott Rolen on a fly to center and Jay Bruce on a groundout.

Friday he also struck out Votto, the National League’s reigning MVP, and got Bruce, the N.L.’s current player of the month, to pop up.

His confidence has swelled. He prefers use in one-inning situations, and that’s the only way Don Mattingly has used him.

In his 6 1/3 innings, he has allowed three hits, three walks and struck out seven. It’s only 10 appearances -- but 10 extremely encouraging appearances. The kind that make a young pitcher finally stick.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times