Padilla hopes to return by May 1

Padilla hopes to return by May 1

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Vicente Padilla, who underwent surgery Thursday on his throwing arm, returned to Camelback Ranch-Glendale Saturday to begin his rehab and said he hopes to be pitching for the Dodgers by May 1.

Padilla, 33, had surgery to release a radial nerve entrapped in a muscle in his forearm, a very rare injury for a pitcher. He had a bandage covering a three-inch scar from the bottom of his elbow down and across his forearm, covered in a gauze sleeve, with a removable sling.

"I'm relieved, because I'm sure I can come back 100 percent," said Padilla, who added that he's had discomfort for three years. "It feels better."

Padilla said he never had numbness in his fingers before the surgery, but that his hand is weak since the operation. He said the pinching sensation he experienced after Saturday's bullpen session was similar to what he had last spring, but nothing like the pain he experienced after an April start last season that put him on the disabled list for two months.

In a best-case scenario, Padilla will need three to four weeks before he resumes throwing, then would need the month of April to essentially go through Spring Training and rebuild arm strength with bullpen sessions and a Minor League rehab assignment.

Because he is being viewed as a reliever, Padilla's rehab will be shorter than that of a starting pitcher.