Kuo's Return May be Delayed

LHP Hong-Chih Kuo's anticipated Friday return from the disabled list is in doubt after he retired only one of five batters in a Class A rehab assignment Tuesday night. He was charged with two runs on four hits with one strikeout.

Kuo had pitched the seventh inning Monday, giving up a run on a hit and walk in 21 pitches. Kuo, disabled two weeks ago with a sore back, was pitching on back-to-back nights for the first time this year.

Kuo is eligible to be activated Friday, when the Dodgers open a homestand against San Diego. With closer Jonathan Broxton struggling and Vicente Padilla having made only two appearances since returning from arm surgery, the club was hoping the return of Kuo would give manager Don Mattingly more late-inning options out of the bullpen.

McCourt to Meet With MLB Officials
Incidents on each coast will effect the Dodgers today. Tom Schieffer holds a news conference in Los Angeles today as the Dodgers' monitor for Major League Baseball, club owner and chairman Frank McCourt will be in New York meeting with MLB officials. He reportedly will defend his financial dealings with FOX ib a multi-year contract.

Schieffer, the former president of the Texas Rangers, was named by Commissioner Bud Selig on Monday to monitor the Dodgers' day-to-day operations, business and finances of the club and all related entities.

Major League Baseball assumed control of the franchise Wednesday from McCourt, who can still be involved in club operations, but he must have his decisions of over $5,000 approved by Schieffer, according to sources.

McCourt's highly publicized divorce from Jamie McCourt, his wife of 29 years who also served as CEO of the club until 2009 and who seeks 50 percent ownership of the franchise have caused the club's finances have come into question.

The Los Angeles Times reported that FOX directly loaned McCourt $30 million, which was needed to make payroll and there have been media reports that McCourt's request to accept a $200 million advance in broadcasting revenues from FOX was rejected by the Commissioner, who has not ruled on whether a multi-year television deal McCourt struck with FOX can stand.

"I am traveling to New York to meet with executives at Major League Baseball tomorrow to discuss a number of matters, including practical concerns regarding the monitor and the details of the FOX agreement," McCourt said in a statement.

"The agreement reached by the Dodgers and FOX for a new media rights deal provides financial stability for the ballclub for years to come. The media rights package is fully negotiated, and it is one of the most favorable ever reached by a baseball team."

Broxton still the closer
Jonathan Broxton wasn't the closer Tuesday night, but only because he'd pitched two straight games. Manager Don Mattingly said that Broxton is still the closer, but never said those exact words. General manager Ned Colletti lit the fire by implying the team would employ a closer-by-committee, although he never used that phrase.

It was that kind of day for the Dodgers. It was the closer controversy story that wasn't, even though it is, or will be soon enough.

It all started Tuesday morning during Colletti's weekly interview on KABC, the Dodgers' flagship radio station. Host Peter Tilden asked Colletti if he was concerned with Broxton.

"Of course," Colletti answered. "I think I can't help but be concerned. I'm one of those people who's pretty much concerned about everything. We hope to get (Hong-Chih) Kuo back Friday. (Vicente) Padilla's been back a few days. We hope to give Donnie three choices or so at the end of the game and let him make up his mind based on matchups or whatever until Broxton can get his confidence back and get settled."

Colletti's comments made the rounds on the internet, and the topic was being discussed on MLB Network when Broxton was in the clubhouse before the game. Broxton saw it himself, the first time he'd heard the news.

Broxton was later summoned to the manager's office, where Mattingly and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt assured him that he hadn't lost his job.

"I'm the closer right now, so I just have to go out there and continue to throw," Broxton said. "I just have to turn the page. That is the big thing about closing or doing anything, setting up, relieving. You have to turn the page. ... (Mattingly) said he liked what he has been seeing and that I'm throwing the ball good. I just have to get back to that attack mode, especially with two outs."

Broxton wasn't going to pitch Tuesday, no matter the score, because no Dodgers pitcher has been used in three straight games this year. They didn't need a closer anyway, since the Marlins won 4-2.

On Monday, Broxton allowed two unearned runs for his first blown save. Mattingly's only gripe about that outing was walking the light-hitting Emilio Bonifacio with two outs.

Broxton is now 5-for-6 in save chances, plus he allowed the go-ahead run to score in a tied game on April 17. More concerning to Dodgers fans, Broxton's ERA is 4.35, he's allowed 12 hits in 10 1/3 innings, and he's walked seven against eight strikeouts.

"Donnie told me I'm the closer and to go from there. He told me I'm throwing the ball good. There are going to be days I'm (unavailable), and that might stir up more stuff. Right now, I'm still the closer."

Clearly, the shaky outings have the Dodgers thinking about how long he'll remain the closer.

In the meantime, Broxton was reminded to be more aggressive and continue using his splitter. He abandoned that pitch two years ago, toyed around with it briefly in spring training, discarded it again in mid-March, but threw four splitters Monday night.

As for the crisis in confidence, Broxton brought up Mariano Rivera blowing consecutive save chances and said he's fine.

"I'm getting really close to that feeling where you don't have to worry about anything," Broxton said. Just, 'here it is' -- that attack mode. I'm nibbling a little bit now. Last year, the first half, I don't know exactly what the numbers were, but I guarantee you I was ahead in the count most of the time. Right now, I'm falling behind in a lot of counts, and that makes it a lot tougher."

--RF Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 23 games with a clean RBI double in the first inning. Ethier now owns the longest April hitting streak in baseball history, surpassing former manager Joe Torre. The next Dodger to pass would be the 25 straight by former C Paul Lo Duca from May 17-June 18, 2003.

--3B Casey Blake's groin injury is the least of his concerns now. His left elbow swelled up dramatically during the game and he ran a fever overnight. The swollen bursa sac in the elbow was drained and tested for a possible infection. Blake wasn't available for Tuesday's game, and it would take quite the recovery for him to play in Wednesday's series finale.

--INF Juan Uribe missed a fourth straight game with a right hip flexor. The Dodgers were hoping it was only going to be a 1-2 day injury. Still, they aren't thinking about a retroactive disabled list stint for Uribe, since he improves each day, and is available in certain pinch hitting situations. It's doubtful he will play Wednesday either.

--CF Matt Kemp was greeted by a Rihanna song before he stepped into the batter's box to start the fourth inning. Kemp and Rihanna were tabloid fodder during the 2009-2010 offseason and were together for the 2010 season, but they're no longer an item. Kemp flew out to right field after hearing the opening notes to his ex's song "What's my name?"

--OF Xavier Paul,26, was claimed off waivers by the Pirates. Paul was designated for assignment last Monday. Paul, designated for assignment by the Dodgers on April 18 to make room for Jerry Sands, was was out of options and made the Dodgers 25-man roster out of Spring Training. He appeared in only seven games, going 3-for-11. A fourth-round pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Paul had callups in 2009 and '10, but both seasons were cut short by injuries he suffered.

--OF Scott Van Slyke of Double-A Chattanooga, the son of former major league All-Star Andy, was named the Southern League's Hitter of the Week for April 18-24. Van Slyke, 24, batted .519 with seven doubles, a triple, three home runs and 12 RBI in seven games. His batting average is .400 after 15 games.

-- Times a Dodger has been hit by a pitch this year, the most in the majors. Casey Blake and Juan Uribe have been plunked three times apiece.

"I'm taking it all in. I'm not sitting there ignoring it. I just go out and execute and do whatever the task calls for. There aren't many chances in a major league career to do something like this. I've gotten to the point in my career I can enjoy and have fun with it. I still try to go with my game plan and execute. I'm not going up there with second and third and try to bloop just to get a hit. I'm trying to drive the ball. I do what I'm up there to do and give Matty (Kemp) a chance behind me." -- Andre Ethier, before extending his hitting streak to 23 games on Tuesday. Ethier broke the April record of 22 games, set by former manager Joe Torre and joked, "I guess he has other issues to deal with that he's not worried about 40-year-old April records."