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Chad Gaudin coming back from rare procedure

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If new Dodgers non-roster invitee Chad Gaudin makes the team, he will have completed what could be an uncharted comeback from a rare surgical procedure designed to relieve nerve pressure.

Gaudin in February 2014 had a Phrenectomy, a procedure that involves a nerve that originates in the neck. But it wasn't neck problems that was hurting Gaudin, or that caused him to fail a physical with the Phillies two weeks earlier that resulted in the release from his minor league deal.

There was nothing technically hurting Gaudin at all, but something didn't feel right in his hand.

"All of a sudden I was throwing and it felt weird in my hand. And it just got worse from there," Gaudin said. "No pain, no numbness, no tingling. Just a loss of dexterity and slowly fatigued."

After the procedure, Gaudin began throwing within five or six months, spending many days at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas near his home. There are no other known instances of a major league player having this procedure.

"There was nobody to turn to," Gaudin said. "I had no idea."

Gaudin's most likely role with the Dodgers would probably be in long relief or as a swing man, but could most likely be starting depth in Triple-A. He said he is willing to pitch in any role.

"I'm coming to camp thinking I'll pitch for this team. Whatever they need, wherever they want me. That's what I've always done," Gaudin said. "Whatever I can do to help this team win."

Gaudin last pitched for the Giants in 2013, making 12 starts and 18 relief appearances, totaling 97 innings. After the year off, Gaudin pitched for Dodgers scouts in Los Angeles three weeks ago.

"Any time a guy doesn't have those reps there is some concern," said general manager Farhan Zaidi, of Gaudin's year off.

Gaudin tried to see the upside of missing all of 2014.

"Being out of the game for a year, it's a long time. But at the same time, I had time to recuperate. I've been playing a long time, 13 years," Gaudin said. "You do that every year, the body starts to break down. It could be a good thing to be able to rejuvenate your body."