Broxton on way back; Padilla likely out for year

Broxton on way back; Padilla likely out for year

Broxton on way back; Padilla likely out for year
LOS ANGELES -- Jonathan Broxton continued on his road to recovery Friday by throwing a simulated game and Kenley Jansen is about to be activated, but fellow reliever Vicente Padilla is apparently done for the year after undergoing microsurgery Thursday to fuse vertebrae in his neck.

Broxton, the incumbent closer who has been on the disabled list since May 4 with a bruised right elbow, threw about 25 pitches to Jamey Carroll and Trent Oeltjen in a controlled setting, and his next step will be a Minor League rehab assignment. He's on track to return to the Dodgers by the end of the month.

"That's the second one for him in a few days, and the next step for him is to go out," said manager Don Mattingly. "He needs to face guys in game competition. We want to make sure he comes out of this OK. It's hard to tell much in this kind of game with no energy. Guys don't really want to be in there. This is just to see where the ball is going and how it's coming out."

Jansen has been on a Minor League rehab assignment at Double-A Chattanooga, and Mattingly said he could return by Saturday.

As for Padilla, the Dodgers aren't expecting him back this year. The Dodgers aren't even aware of another pitcher to return from the fusing of vertebrae in the neck. But Padilla was convinced it would be the only way he could pitch.

There's not much new on the condition of disabled starter Jon Garland, who is out with an unspecified shoulder condition that sounds like a torn labrum. He was scheduled to be examined Friday. He has been on the disabled list since June 2 and the Dodgers knew something like this might happen, because they wrote into his contract that a 2012 option for $8 million would not vest if he was on the disabled list in September with an injury to his right arm.

"He has some kind of damage, and it's not new damage," said Mattingly. "He's been able to pop back quick in the past, but not this time."

Third baseman Casey Blake was out of Friday's starting lineup for a sixth consecutive game with arthritis in his neck. He has improved with a cortisone shot, but with each day, a third stint this year on the disabled list becomes an increasing possibility.

"He's better, but he still feels a little something," said Mattingly. "Right now, nobody is talking about [the disabled list]."