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Vicente Padilla Throws Off Mound; Casey Blake Could Start Season On DL

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Vicente Padilla threw about 30 pitches in a bullpen session this morning at Camelback Ranch.
Vicente Padilla threw about 30 pitches in a bullpen session this morning at Camelback Ranch.

The Dodgers had some good news and some bad news today on the injury front at Camelback Ranch. The good news is that Vicente Padilla threw off a mound for the first time since undergoing surgery last month. Padilla had the surgery on February 24 to fix his right radial nerve, which was being entrapped by one of the deep muscles in his forearm.

Padilla this morning threw about 30 pitches to A.J. Ellis in the bullpen on the Dodgers' practice field, under the watchful eyes of trainer Stan Conte, manager Don Mattingly, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, and bullpen coach Ken Howell. By my rough count, Padilla threw five pitches at or above 80 mph, topping out at 83 mph. Conte wanted to know each time the radar gun hit 80, but the other pitches (to my untrained eye) didn't seem much slower, maybe mid to upper 70s.

The bad news is that there is no timetable for Casey Blake's return, though it is starting to seem like the third baseman will open the season on the disabled list. Blake, who is dealing with inflammation in his back, last played on Saturday, when he hurt himself trying to beat out a bunt to second base in the first inning. This morning, Mattingly acknowledged that Blake might not be ready on March 31, per Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles:

Right now, Casey isn't on the field. ... I don't want to try to project it yet, but obviously, we are looking at other options in case he isn't going to be available Opening Day.

If Blake isn't ready for opening day, Juan Uribe would presumably slide over to third base, leaving second base to Jamey Carroll. Uribe today is making his fourth start at third base this spring, including each of the last three games (his other start at the hot corner was last Saturday in a split squad game; Uribe started at third against the Royals while Blake started against the Giants, in the game Blake was injured).

Here are today's lineups for the game in Scottsdale against the Giants:

Dodgers   Giants
SS Furcal
2B Fontenot
2B DeJesus      

SS Tejada     
RF Ethier
1B Huff
CF Kemp
3B Posey
1B Loney     

RF Schierholtz  
3B Uribe
CF Rowand
LF Thames
LF Ishikawa
C Navarro
C Stewart
P Rubby

P Suppan

MLB Gameday