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Joel Peralta hoping to avoid surgery

ST. LOUIS – The Los Angeles Dodgers came closer than they ever let on to losing the pitcher they acquired to be the veteran leader of their bullpen, Joel Peralta.

According to Peralta, back specialist Robert Watkins recommended at one point that he undergo surgery to remove a disk in his back that was impinging on a nerve and causing discomfort to radiate down through his triceps. Instead, Peralta and the Dodgers elected to go the conservative route and rest his arm and it appears he might be able to avoid surgery, which would have ended his season and, possibly, his career.

Peralta, 39, has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 26, but on Friday he played catch from over 100 feet at Busch Stadium and expects to throw his first bullpen session next week in Colorado. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is a big admirer of Peralta’s and traded hard thrower Jose Dominguez and a minor-leaguer to the Tampa Bay Rays for Peralta and Adam Liberatore last November.

Even with a conservative timetable, Peralta should be able to return within about two weeks, presuming he has no further setbacks.

“He wasn’t looking very good there for a little bit,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

Grandal is ready: Catcher Yasmani Grandal said he feels fine and all signs point to him being activated from the seven-day concussion disabled list before Saturday’s game.

Grandal went 3-for-10 with five walks during a rehab stint with Triple-A Oklahoma City and came away highly impressed with the Dodgers’ top prospect, shortstop Corey Seager, who happened to go 6-for-6 with two doubles, a home run and six RBIs in Thursday’s game. Seager, who got off to a slow start at Triple-A, is now batting .324 and knocking on the door of a major-league opportunity.

“It looks like he’s hitting batting practice,” Grandal said. “He wasn’t missing a pitch, whether it was a left-hander, right-hander, didn’t matter. He has really good hands at short, too.”

Grandal said Seager finished a triple shy of the cycle only because one of his doubles hopped over the right-field wall.

Among Grandal’s adventures in Salt Lake City: He was ejected by the home plate umpire for arguing a called third strike. Grandal said that was the first time he had ever been ejected, going back to his high school days. Asked what he said to merit getting tossed, Grandal said, “You don’t want to know.”