Vicente Padilla is bound for 15-day disabled list

The Dodgers aren’t hitting and their bullpen is falling apart. Their disabled list includes three of their starting position players.

But at least their rotation was stable.

Until Wednesday.

That was when an MRI exam revealed a bulging disk in the neck of Vicente Padilla, which will land him on the 15-day disabled list Friday.

Padilla was visibly frustrated, saying, “We’re not winning and I can’t do anything to help the team.”

The trip to the disabled list will be Padilla’s second of the season. He was sidelined for almost two months starting in mid-April because of nerve problems in his throwing arm.

Manager Joe Torre said the Dodgers would call up right-hander Travis Schlichting from triple-A Albuquerque to take Padilla’s place on the active roster. Carlos Monasterios will replace Padilla in the rotation and start Friday.

Padilla, who posted a 1.32 earned-run average in eight starts from June 25 to Aug. 4, said his neck started to bother him in Philadelphia on Aug. 10.

“That’s when I started to pitch poorly,” he said.

Padilla won that day, but was charged with four runs in five innings. Despite the discomfort, Padilla pitched five days later in Atlanta. He gave up a season-high eight runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Padilla said the pinching sensation affected his delivery.

“It hurt when I pulled back my glove hand and when I followed through,” he said.

Trainer Stan Conte said he expected Padilla to miss at least two starts, including his scheduled start Friday. Padilla is eligible to be activated Aug. 31.

Padilla said he wasn’t concerned about the long-term effects of the injury, noting how he was told by team doctors that he was unlikely to have to undergo surgery.

Extra work

While most of his teammates were in the clubhouse, cages or trainer’s room, Matt Kemp took the field with hitting coach Don Mattingly to take early batting practice.

Mattingly said Kemp has been working on fixing a mechanical flaw in his stance. Mattingly said he wanted to take him out of the cages and onto the field so that he can see the flight of the balls he hits to get a better understanding of what he’s doing.

“When he struggles, he loses his posture,” Mattingly said. “His butt sticks out. He ends up swinging with just his arms and reaching for balls. When his butt’s coming out, the ball gets farther away from him.”

Kemp returned to the lineup Thursday after starting the previous game on the bench. Through Wednesday night, he was one for his last 18 at-bats with seven strikeouts, and was batting .156 over his last 15 games.

Short hops

Manny Ramirez was 0 for 2 with two strikeouts and a walk in his second game of a minor-league rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Inland Empire. He played five innings in left field. … Scott Podsednik made his 525th plate appearance of the season Wednesday, meaning the $2-million club option in his contract for 2011 has become a mutual option. … With the Dodgers facing a left-hander in Jorge De La Rosa, Torre sat Andre Ethier in favor of Reed Johnson. … Rafael Furcal underwent a bone scan, which was negative. … Torre said he expected Monasterios to be able to throw 80 to 90 pitches in his start Friday. Monasterios’ last start was July 30.

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