Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt is out of the lineup for the second consecutive day and is returning to Phoenix to undergo an MRI on his right elbow.

Goldschmidt said he’s experienced discomfort in his elbow for the past week, and though both he and manager Torey Lovullo downplayed their levels of concern, the club wouldn’t send its star player and MVP candidate for tests if it wasn’t somewhat concerning.

Goldschmidt said he’s been playing through the issue and could continue to do so.

“Whatever happens (with the MRI results), I’m pretty confident I can play,” Goldschmidt said. “It’s been getting better every day, but it hasn’t gone away now for a week or so. As long as it doesn’t get worse, it hasn’t affected me.”

Goldschmidt is the Diamondbacks’ top player and a leading candidate for the National League MVP award. He’s hitting .314 with 33 homers and 109 RBIs.

Since last week’s series against the Giants, Goldschmidt said he’s awoken most mornings feeling tightness in the elbow, but he said it has yet to affect him during games. He described the discomfort as “sporadic,” coming and going without notice yet never overly painful. Once he gets the elbow loose, the feeling goes away, he said.

In a best-case scenario, Goldschmidt could rejoin the Diamondbacks in Los Angeles on Tuesday and be back in the lineup for the second game of their three-game series at Dodger Stadium.