As the Dodgers tab Clayton Kershaw to try to snap their five-game losing streak Saturday night, against the Cardinals, thoughts at Dodger Stadium turned to another southpaw. Hong-Chih Kuo was placed on the 15-day disabled list today with a left lower back strain, though it has been considered before today.
Kuo has been battling this back issue since spring training, and has been the reason for his control problems early in the season. He has four walks in 2 2/3 innings this year. "We wondered why he was up, up, up. He was up all the time, even in the bullpen," said manager Don Mattingly before the game. The issue was enough of a concern that Kuo had an MRI in San Diego last weekend, though the test showed nothing major.
Ramon Troncoso, who was recalled from Triple A to take Kuo's roster spot, was told in Albuquerque on Tuesday night that he would be recalled to the Dodgers on Wednesday. However, the Dodgers reversed course the next day, as Kuo convinced the Dodgers to give him another shot. "A guy like that who's been in the training room so much, anything that comes up, [he] just [doesn't] want to go to the training room," Mattingly said. Kuo struck out two batters Wednesday night in San Francisco, but his pitches were still up. Pat Burrell and Pablo Sandoval chased pitches up, but Brandon Belt and Mike Fontenot did not chase, and they walked.
The situation exacerbated Friday night, when Kuo tried to warm up in the bullpen but couldn't get loose. Exchanging Kuo for Troncoso leaves the Dodgers with no left-handed pitchers in the bullpen. "There's always concern. You'd like to have a couple [lefties]," Mattingly said. "We just want the guys throwing the best right now. Troncoso has been throwing good, so he's the guy."
Kuo will refrain from throwing in the next few days, and will also undergo a few more tests, the extent of which are yet unknown.
Lonely Island For DeJesus
Ivan DeJesus was recalled earlier in the week when Rafael Furcal went on the disabled list with a broken left thumb, but it doesn't sound like DeJesus will get much playing time. "The reason that we sent him down, it was more along the lines that he wasn't going to get enough at-bats," Mattingly said. "We felt he's an everyday guy, but just not with this club right now. It is one of those situations where you don't like him sitting there."
DeJesus has had one at-bat in the last four games, appearing as a pinch hitter last night. Meanwhile, Aaron Miles gets the start at second base tonight, his second start since the recall of DeJesus and sixth of the season for Miles. The only other infielder on the 40-man roster that is not on the active roster or DL is Russ Mitchell.
- Mattingly liked the way Loney swung the bat Friday night. "I'm trying to keep James simplified. The issues come up with James because he changes so much. He moves his hands, he moves his feet," the manager said.
- Casey Blake was removed early last night -- in a double-switch in the top of the sixth inning -- not for injury reasons but rather because the Dodgers wanted to get two innings out of Blake Hawksworth, and Blake happened to make the second-to-last out of the bottom of the fifth inning.
- With Kuo out, Mattingly said Matt Guerrier would be his regular eighth inning pitcher. Mattingly called the right-hander "calm in all situations," and praised his ability to throw more than one inning per outing.
- Frank McCourt reportedly got a $30 million loan from Fox this week to meet payroll and expenses into next month, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket