LOS ANGELES -- The questions about Vicente Padilla's return may finally have an answer. For the Dodgers, it's not one they were hoping for.
Padilla, the righty reliever who went on the disabled list May 14, will have surgery on his neck Thursday that could force him to miss the rest of the season. Manager Don Mattingly said missing the remainder of the season is possible, but he preferred to use the phrase "extended period of time."
"Anybody that's having neck surgery, you're not expecting a two-week period of time before he's going to be back throwing," Mattingly said.
Mattingly didn't give specifics on the surgery, noting it had to do with a disk in Padilla's neck. He added the team will have a more accurate analysis of Padilla's situation after the surgery.
Padilla was nearly set to return from a forearm injury two weeks ago, when his return was pushed back with the neck problems. It is the same neck injury he suffered last season.
This year, Padilla has a 4.15 ERA with three saves in nine appearances.