He pitched fairly effectively (by Jorge Julio standards, at least) in Spring Training and seemed set to go this year, but for the second straight season Eric Gagne is facing a dauntingly complex-sounding surgery. Where last June’s Frank Jobe-overseen elbow surgery freed an entrapped nerve, Friday’s surgery (also featuring the hardest-working man in arthroscopy) will free that very same nerve from Gagne’s elbow entirely. MRI’s didn’t turn up any more serious problems and the nerve in question is apparently located directly below the skin, but nerve-removal sounds…well, terrifying is a decent word for it. The AP’s John Nagel — by way of Forbes, naturally — discusses the turmoil in Dodgertown.

“We obviously had no idea this was going to occur,” Colletti said. “Eric pitched 14 games last year. We’re all smart enough to know you don’t know what you’re going to get when the guy comes back.

“I know he wants to play, I know he battles every day to do it.”

Johnston said Gagne told him Wednesday he had been pitching in pain all spring. The problem was diagnosed during an examination by Gambardella after that – while the Dodgers were playing the Braves in the finale of a three-game series.

No timetable has been set for Gagne’s return, and Danys Baez will close in Gagne’s stead. Gagne joins Kenny Lofton and Nomar Garciaparra on the Dodgers’ DL.