Padilla still on track for June return

Padilla still on track for June return

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers right-hander Vicente Padilla threw another bullpen session from the mound on Thursday and is targeted for a mid-June return, according to manager Joe Torre.

"He's been good," Torre said. "Again, he's just throwing fastballs, so we still have a ways to go like throwing his slider and his sinker."

Padilla, who is on the disabled list with a rare irritation of the radial nerve, will still need at least three rehab starts after he begins to throw all of his pitches in bullpen sessions.

Right-hander Ramon Ortiz has been starting in Padilla's place in the rotation, but with an off-day on Monday, Torre is looking at skipping his fifth starter, depending on how many pitches left-hander Clayton Kershaw throws against the Padres on Thursday.

"We'll have to wait the next two days to see how much Kershaw throws," Torre said. "Right now I'm thinking about keeping him on his day, but if he throws hard and goes deep we might have to rethink it."

If the Dodgers choose to give Kershaw extra rest and keep a five-man rotation, Torre will have to decide whether to start Ortiz, who allowed five runs over 3 1/3 innings in his start on Wednesday, or rookie right-hander Carlos Monasterios, who threw three scoreless innings after Ortiz's exit.

"We'll discuss it," Torre said. "We were impressed with Monasterios last night, but the thing is you're not going to get the pitch count you have with Ramon. If we do continue with the five-hole for the next go-round we'll have to look at it."