- Associated Press - Monday, June 13, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Vicente Padilla, sidelined since May 14 because of a bulging disk in his neck, is scheduled to undergo surgery Thursday.

Padilla, who turns 34 years old in September, has been on the DL 10 times in his big league career _ including last year, when he missed about 2 1-2 weeks because of the same problem.

“We’ve tried to treat it conservatively, but it’s not working,” manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s the same thing as last year. Obviously, it’s not a great situation for anybody that’s having neck surgery. I mean, we’re not expecting a two-week period of time before he’s going to be back throwing or anything.”

Padilla has been limited to nine relief appearances _ all between April 23 and May 13. The 13-year veteran began the season on the disabled list while recovering from forearm surgery after going 6-5 last year with a 4.07 ERA in 16 starts.

Two seasons ago, he was the Dodgers‘ opening day starter because then-manager Joe Torre had no clear-cut favorite.

Padilla was actually the Dodgers‘ closer for a brief time upon his return, after Jonathan Broxton went on the DL with a bone bruise in his left elbow and posted three saves _ doubling his career total.

Padilla, an All-Star in 2002 with Philadelphia, re-signed with the Dodgers for one year at $2 million. In two-plus seasons with them, he is 10-5 with a 3.84 ERA in 23 starts and 10 relief outings. They originally signed him in August 2009 to a minor league, two days after he was released by the Texas Rangers. The Dodgers obtained him out of necessity, after Hiroki Kuroda was hit in the head by a line drive in a game against Arizona and went on the DL.