Padilla Fills a Spot in Rotation

Not even a bullet to the leg could deter the pitching-starved Dodgers from bringing back Vicente Padilla. The 32-year-old right-hander, who was brilliant in blue last season after getting released by the Rangers, gives the Dodgers four confirmed starters heading into the 2010 season. Padilla will be in the rotation with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda.

Before Padilla signed, the Dodgers were looking at filling their last two rotation spots with a collection of veterans with non-roster invitations to spring training, or lightly tested youngsters.

While Padilla's pitching arsenal is considered the best on the staff, it's his makeup that has been in question. He showed he could be a good teammate at the end of the 2009 season, though, when he went 4-0 down the stretch. In his seven starts the Dodgers won six of them.

Padilla also was lights out in his first two postseason starts, impressive victories over both the Cardinals and Phillies. But he was crushed by the Phillies in the deciding game of the NL Championship Series.

Padilla will get a $4,025,000 base salary and a $1 million signing bonus. He can also earn up to $1 million in incentives based on innings pitched.

Padilla was reportedly the victim of an accidental gunshot to the leg in his native Nicaragua early in the offseason. The injury was considered minor, and the Dodgers don't believe the incident was anything more than an accident.

NOTES, QUOTES
--RF Andre Ethier signed a two-year deal with the Dodgers worth $15.25 million. The deal takes the Arizona native through two of his last three arbitration years. Ethier had a breakout season in 2009, with 31 home runs, 106 RBI and six-walk off hits, four of which were home runs.

--RHP Jonathan Broxton came to terms on a two-year, $11 million deal with the Dodgers that eliminates his final two arbitration years. Broxton was a first-time All-Star in 2009 and finished the season with 36 saves in his first year as the full-time closer. His save percentage of 85.7 percent was just ninth best in the National League.

--C Russell Martin led a list of four Dodgers arbitration-eligible players who came to terms on one-year deals. Martin's deal was worth $5.05 million. LHP George Sherrill ($4.5 million), 1B James Loney ($3.1 million) and LHP Hong Chih-Kuo ($950,000) also agreed to one-year contracts. Three other arbitration-eligible players (Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Jonathan Broxton) signed two-year deals.

--CF Matt Kemp moved to answer any questions that have arisen from the discovery of a restraining order taken out by his ex-girlfriend two years ago. Kemp's agent, Dave Stewart, told the Los Angeles Times that when Kemp broke up with his then-girlfriend, she filed the complaint but quickly rescinded it. A statement from his ex said the complaint had nothing to do with domestic violence and the two remain "amicable."

BY THE NUMBERS: 8.7 -- Strikeouts per nine innings by Vicente Padilla when he was with the Dodgers for eight appearances (seven starts) at the end of 2009. He has a 6.2 strikeouts-per-nine-inning total for his career.

>b>QUOTE TO NOTE: "As far as his attitude and approach, we saw nothing that would indicate there would be any problems in the future." -- GM Ned Colletti, to the Los Angeles Times, after signing RHP Vicente Padilla to a one-year deal despite issues in the past that include being a problem in the clubhouse.

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