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Vicente Padilla to undergo surgery

February 23, 2011 |  7:33 am

And then there were five.

Vicente Padilla will undergo surgery on his pitching arm on Thursday to release a nerve that is entrapped by one of the deep muscles in his forearm.

The Dodgers have not set a timetable for his return.

The opening-day starter last season, Padilla was re-signed to add depth to the pitching staff. He was expected to begin the season as a long reliever and viewed as a potential starter or closer.

Padilla gave the Dodgers six established starters, compared with the four they had when they started last season. Barring another injury, the club will head into the season with a rotation consisting of Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda and Jon Garland.

The Dodgers were aware that Padilla was a serious medical risk, as he was limited to 16 starts last season because of arm and neck problems. His contract reflected that, as he will earn a base salary of $2 million. The deal is incentives-heavy, as he can earn an additional $8 million in bonuses as a starter or an extra $6.8 million as a reliever.

Padilla missed two months early last season because of related nerve problems in his arm.

-- Dylan Hernandez in Phoenix

Photo: Vicente Padilla. Credit: Morry Gash / Associated Press