The Hits Keep on Coming

The Dodger's rotation has become about as steady as the Dow Jones Averages. It was decided that Brad Penny should be placed the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in the bursa sac and mild tendinitis in his right shoulder. Starter Hiroki Kuroda was sent home from Cincinnati with soreness in his right shoulder -- a condition he had kept to himself. And Eric Stults was called up from Las Vegas.

Penny should be out no more than two weeks, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. He'll be eligible to return June 30 and will begin throwing later this week.

Left-hander Eric Stults was called up from Las Vegas and will start Thursday in the series finale against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Derek Lowe, who was originally slated to pitch Thursday, was moved up to Wednesday after Hiroki Kuroda was sent home. Kuroda is scheduled for an MRI today.

Penny underwent an MRI exam Monday. It revealed no structural damage. Penny had complained of discomfort in his shoulder for more than a month without missing a start, but the pain worsened during pregame warmups in his last start on Saturday against Detroit.

Stults, who is 5-6 with a 3.59 ERA through 14 starts at Las Vegas this season, will be making his season debut. He made five starts and 12 appearances for the Dodgers in 2007 and two starts in six appearances in 2006.

"I was throwing well down there, and I knew if I kept throwing well, something would happen," Stults told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. "All in all, it's easy to go out there in Triple-A or wherever you are when you're throwing well and having fun. You've got to believe that I'd have the opportunity. You just never know -- every year that a team loses so many guys. You've got to think that if you're throwing well, the opportunity might present itself." Stults, who led Las Vegas in innings pitched (82 2/3) and strikeouts (67), got news of his promotion Monday night after a game in Salt Lake City. He flew into Cincinnati on Tuesday morning. Stults said he believes he's a different pitcher than he was a season ago, mainly because of his ability to be aggressive and get ahead of hitters early in the count.

Kuroda, Next?
"Kuroda's experienced this on and off for a while, but we just found out about it," Torre said. "He was ready to pitch [Wednesday], but we decided to send him home. We'll know more by the time we got home, probably before we get home."

Kuroda felt some discomfort while throwing a bullpen session on Sunday, Torre said. When Kuroda informed Torre of the soreness on Tuesday, the manager opted for the safest option.

Lowe will start in Kuroda's place on Wednesday; Eric Stults Thursday and Clayton Kershaw will take the mound on Friday against the Indians.

Kuroda is 3-6 through 14 starts with the Dodgers this season with one complete game. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings and gave up six runs on five hits in his last start on Thursday at San Diego.

Torre would like to have known about Kuroda's condition earlier. "When he's been able to pitch, he's pitched," Torre said. "His numbers have been good. But I would have liked to have been told sooner because I'm concerned about the health and welfare of the pitcher. I told him there's no win that's more important than his career."

*M*A*S*H* 4077 Report
In other medical news, Torre acknowledged today that Rafael Furcal probably won't be back before the All-Star break, a big development since that was the earliest he could possibly return anyway. ... Andruw Jones has been hitting and his swing looks better than it has all season. He is no longer dropping the elbow. No word yet on when he might start his minor-league rehab.

On a lighter note, Nomar Garciaparra homered and knocked in a pair of runs while on his first rehab start with Las Vegas.

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