Vicente Padilla delivers a pitch against the Phillies. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
Vicente Padilla needs surgery to repair a bulging disk in his neck, possibly ending the relief pitcher's season, Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said Monday.
Padilla was expected to have the operation Thursday and his return "just depends on how he comes out" of the procedure, Mattingly said.
Asked whether the Nicaraguan right-hander could be out for the season, Mattingly replied, "Definitely I think we're looking at an extended period of time … it's not one of those two-, three-week deals."
Padilla, 33, has struggled with injuries the last two years. He missed 68 games last season with similar neck problems, and he had surgery this spring to release a nerve entrapped in the muscle of his right forearm.
A former member of the Dodgers' starting rotation, he returned April 22 as a reliever and, with injuries to closer Jonathan Broxton and reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, Padilla briefly became the Dodgers' closer.
Padilla returned to the disabled list in mid-May when his arm flared up again, but was scheduled to be reactivated on the Dodgers' recent trip when his neck problem resurfaced.
He has appeared in nine games this season and had a 4.15 earned-run average.
Third baseman Casey Blake, also suffering neck pain, did not start for the third consecutive game Monday, but he and Mattingly said Blake remained available for pinch-hitting.
"There are a couple of angles I get at where it pinches the nerve" in his neck, mostly while fielding, Blake said.
"What really gets me is a popup" fly ball, he said. "I had one in Philly and one in Colorado, and I tell you what . . . it felt like I had never gone to catch a popup before.
"It's frustrating," Blake said. "I want to play. I've missed too much time already."
Blake, 37, has missed 38 games after starting the season late because of a back injury and then having a staph infection on his left elbow.
Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp remained fourth and fifth, respectively, in voting for National League outfielders in this year's All-Star game July 12 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Major League Baseball said Monday.
Ethier, an All-Star last year, had 1.47 million votes in baseball's third update of the balloting, while Kemp was next with 1.37 million votes.
Ethier was nearly 387,000 votes behind Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals (1.86 million votes) for the third starting position. Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers was first (2.23 million) and the Cardinals' Lance Berkman was second in the voting (1.88 million).
No Dodgers were among the top five in voting for infielders and catchers.
All-Star balloting at stadiums concludes June 24, and online voting at mlb.com and teams' individual websites continues through June 30.
Reliever Kenley Jansen, recovering from inflammation in his right throwing shoulder, was eligible to be activated Monday but continued a minor league rehabilitation. "We want to keep extending him … keep building his arm strength," Mattingly said.... Rookie pitcher Rubby De La Rosa, who left Sunday's game in Denver in the sixth inning with a forearm cramp, reported no problems after returning to Los Angeles, Mattingly said.