The Dodgers' distant hope of seeing Jonathan Broxton pitch again this season is still alive. Barely.

Broxton was cleared to throw after seeing a doctor Monday night and will begin a progressive throwing program that, if it goes well, will get him back to pitching at full strength in about four to six weeks.

Broxton hasn't thrown in a major-league game since May 3, because of a bone bruise in his right throwing elbow. The Dodgers haven't ruled out him returning before the season ends.

"It's not unrealistic," said Stan Conte, director of medical services.

Broxton threw indoors from about 45 feet with little velocity. He'll gradually throw harder at longer distances over the next few weeks.

"Start slow and build up," Conte said. "Hopefully everything's healed up at this point, because he doesn't have any symptoms. We're back to where we were as far as a throwing program."

Broxton was first shut down in early May, when an MRI exam showed a bruise and bone spur on the back of the elbow. He started a rehabilitation assignment in mid-June but had discomfort, and a subsequent MRI revealed that the elbow was bruised worse than the first time.

Once healthy, Broxton likely wouldn't be able to make a minor-league rehabilitation assignment. Single-A Rancho Cucamonga's regular season ends Sept. 14, while double-A Chattanooga and triple-A Albuquerque end Sept. 5.

"He won't make those," manager Don Mattingly said, "but they'll be playing down in Arizona (at the team's training site) at that point. There'll be guys down there."

Asked about possibly having Broxton return before the season ends, Mattingly said, "If we get him at all, it's going to be late."