GLENDALE, Ariz. -- One month after undergoing arm surgery, Dodgers pitcher Vicente Padilla had an impressive bullpen session Thursday, and he is tentatively scheduled to pitch batting practice Sunday.
It would be the first time Padilla faces hitters since the Feb. 24 surgery to free an entrapped radial nerve in his right forearm.
Padilla threw 28 pitches -- 20 fastballs -- on Thursday, and most of them registered in the high 80s. He also threw a handful of his unique slow curveballs and a couple of sliders.
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If Padilla comes out of this bullpen session and the batting-practice session healthy, the next step would likely be a handful of Minor League game appearances.
Manager Don Mattingly discounted the chance that Padilla would be rushed back in time for Opening Day, but he could be ready only days after that, rather than weeks. Padilla is being viewed as a reliever and won't need to build arm strength for anything more than 25 pitches per appearance, compared to the 100-pitch target of a starting pitcher.