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2011 Dodgers Spring Training: Vicente Padilla To Have Surgery Thursday

Los Angeles Dodgers' pitcher Vicente Padilla will have surgery on Thursday to free up a nerve that is entrapped by a muscle in his forearm, the club announced today. The surgery will be performed in Los Angeles by Drs. Neal ElAttrache and Steve Shin, and Padilla is expected to return to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona on Friday. The timetable for his return will be determined after surgery.

Padilla returned to Los Angeles Tuesday to have an MRI after experiencing right elbow pain. He missed 51 games last season with an irritated ulnar nerve in that same right elbow, as he was on the disabled list from April 23 to June 19. His injury concerns -- he also missed the better part of a month and a half later in the season with a bulging disc in his neck -- led the Dodgers to sign him to an incentive-laden contract with a relatively low base salary of $2 million. Padilla can earn incentives for either starting or relieving, up to $9 million in bonuses as a starter or $6.8 million in relief.

Padilla was expected to begin the season in the bullpen, and was rotation depth behind starters Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, and Jon Garland. With Padilla now out for an unspecified amount of time, that opens up a bullpen spot, which increases the chances for someone like Kenley Jansen (who, with Ronald Belisario not in camp, is likely to make the team anyway), Ramon Troncoso, Jon Link, Travis Schlichting, and Blake Hawksworth, who is out of options.

For more Dodgers spring training news and information, be sure to read True Blue LA.