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Padilla Needs Surgery; Could Miss Season

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The Dodgers pen is set to take another hit as the team has announced the injury that forced reliever Vicente Padilla to the disabled list requires surgery.  The procedure to fix a bulging disk in his neck could sideline Padilla for the remainder of the season.

Padilla has had several injury related issues already this season.  During spring training, the right hander had surgery on his forearm.  He was able to make it back by the end of April, but only appeared in 9 games before the arm forced him back to the DL.

The 33 year old appeared ready to return early in June when he began experiencing issues with his neck.

“Last year we gave him a shot and it took him [three weeks] to come back,” manager Don Mattingly said. “We tried it again, and he wasn’t getting any relief from it.”

It’s now been determined that Padilla will have to have surgery to fully repair the injury.  Matting noted the team knows it’s not going to simply sideline the reliever 2 or 3 weeks, but instead could cost Padilla the rest of the 2011 season.

This year marked the first time Padilla was used primarily as a reliever since 2001.  He was initially a long man for the club, but after injuries sidelined closers Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo, Padilla began finishing games for the Dodgers.

Over his 9 appearances, Padilla maintained an ERA of 4.15 while converting all 3 of his save opportunities.

LA has 7 players who have registered a save this season, and the club appears set to continue using a closer by committee system to finish games until Broxton or Kuo can return.