Sore Elbow Sidelines Hong-Chih Kuo

Last night's game in Taiwan was rained out, but the biggest news involved Taiwanese pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo.  Kuo was scratched from his scheduled Sunday start with a sore elbow, not exactly the kind of homecoming Kuo wished for.  Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com said Kuo was very emotional when he told the Taiwanese press that he wouldn't pitch Sunday.

With Kuo's history, any type of injury always seems just around the corner, but this news is still troubling.  After Tuesday's outing in Arizona, Joe Torre was practically beaming about Kuo, even going so far to say, "It's nice to have him in a situation where you're not giving him special care."  Just four days later, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com used the words "shut down indefinitely" in his report of Kuo's injury, which is not exactly the type of phrase you would like to see. 

Kuo experienced the elbow soreness Tuesday and Friday, and told the trainers after Friday.  The real question is, did Kuo report anything to the trainers Tuesday?  Nope.  Per Gurnick:

Only four days earlier, Kuo was unhittable in his exhibition debut against Colorado with a pair of strikeouts in one perfect inning. But he said he felt soreness in that appearance and it bothered him again Friday during a bullpen session at Tienmu Stadium, after which he first reported it to the team trainers.

"I just found out today," said Torre.

Kuo downplayed the severity of his discomfort.

Shelburne reported "Torre and Kuo say they don't think it's anything major, just normal spring training soreness," but I find it hard to feel comforted with that news since Russell Martin said the same thing of his injury a week ago, a few days before it was announced Martin was out four to six weeks. 

The final game in Taiwan is scheduled for Saturday night at 10pm at Kaohsiung County Stadium.  Josh Towers, who was scheduled to pitch in last night's rained out game, will start in place of Kuo.

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