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03/31/09 3:02 PM ET

Devine to begin season on disabled list

Reliever will miss a minimum of three weeks with elbow trouble

PHOENIX -- Right-hander Joey Devine, who'd been penciled in to share the closer's role with Brad Ziegler early in the season, will instead open the season on the disabled list.

Forced to miss more than three weeks of camp while tending to a sore elbow, Devine suffered a setback while facing the host Dodgers on Monday. On Tuesday morning, he said he'll be examined by famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews next Wednesday or Thursday in Birmingham, Ala.

He's expected to miss a minimum of three weeks.

"It's been a battle," said Devine, who was on the DL from May 30 to Aug. 2 last season with elbow inflammation. "It's kind of like a roller coaster ride. ... There's been more downs than ups."

Devine said that the pain he's experiencing is "the same as last season," and expressed hope that Andrews will be able to identify "the next best step."

"I spent the entire offseason rehabbing it, and it was fine [at the start of camp]," he added. "But as soon as I started to throw at game speed, it came back. ... We've done a lot of different stuff to treat the ligament, and it keeps flaring up. We've tried three different times, and three different times it's come back."

Devine was shut down in early March, and he said he felt fine during his return to the mound in a Minor League game last Tuesday. The discomfort returned while he worked in a Cactus League game against the Padres on Friday.

"In the Minor League game, I felt outstanding," he said. "In the night game [against the Padres], the last batter I faced had a long at-bat, eight or nine pitches, and I could feel some grabbing in the inner-elbow area."

He felt it again on Monday while giving up a double and two walks in one-third of an inning.

"The recovery time is not there," he said. "It just felt very average, [and] it's pretty much on every pitch. There's something there that's grabbing it."

Losing Devine, who went 6-1 with a 0.59 ERA in 42 appearances last season, leaves Ziegler, who went 3-0 with a 1.06 ERA in 47 appearances, as manager Bob Geren's No. 1 ninth-inning option.

"We just have to pick up the slack," said Geren, who noted that right-handed setup men Santiago Casilla and Russ Springer also might get some save opportunities. Casilla had a 1.23 ERA in eight spring outings through Monday.

"If it was today, I would have the confidence to put him in the ninth inning," Geren said of Casilla, who also spent time on the DL last year with elbow issues. "He's had a great spring. He's throwing the ball extremely well right now.

"You just kind of move guys up. That's where Joey and Brad came from; they were seventh- or eighth-inning guys before Huston [Street lost his job]."

Devine will leave Arizona on Wednesday and spend some time at home in Atlanta before visiting Andrews.

"It's frustrating, but it's also peace of mind in that I know I'll be in good hands," Devine said. "The most frustrating part is being away from the team. We've got something special going on here."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.