Kuo on, Saito Off NLCS Roster

The Dodgers announced a 25-man roster for the 2008 National League Championship Series that included relievers Hong-Chh Kuo and didn't include Takashi Saito. The NLCS begins tonight with Game 1 at Citizens Bank Park. First pitch is scheduled for 8:22 p.m. ET.

  Saito is attempting to work out a mechanical problem that has bothered him since he came off the Disabled List. The problem is with pitching out of the windup, and he was working exclusively out of the stretch.  

Before the decision to take him off the roster, Saito said the decision rests with others. "It's up to oe and the coaching staff -- they might want me to give it some time and work on my mechanics so I can be ready for the World Series."  

Saito, 38, missed two months this season with a partially torn elbow ligament and rehabilitated the injury instead of having surgery. He returned to make six regular-season appearances (allowing three earned runs in 5.2 innings) and was ineffective in his only National League Division Series appearance, allowing three hits to each of the three Cubs he faced in Game 2.  

"He sort of got out of whack mechanically and he's trying to get back to where he was," said Torre. "He's trying to get comfortable again with what Rick [Honeycutt] has been talking to him about, to get the same delivery."  

Then again, with Broxton hitting 100+ in his final relief appearance against the Cubs, he may be poised to take over the closer role.  

Kuo, an important lefthander, has progressed enough to be activated, even though he has pitched only one inning of game action in the last month.  

Torre said Kuo came out of a bullpen session Sunday and simulated game Tuesday with no discomfort in his triceps. He may not be in perfect condition but the doctors have given the OK to send him out there.  

The Dodgers will carry 11 pitchers and 14 position players. The roster:  

 Pitchers (11)    	        Position Players (14)
LHP Joe Beimel         	        C Danny Ardoin
RHP Chad Billingsley     	IF Angel Berroa
RHP Jonathan Broxton            3B Casey Blake
LHP Clayton Kershaw      	2B-3B Blake DeWitt
LHP Hong-Chih Kuo        	OF Andre Ethier
RHP Hiroki Kuroda        	SS Rafael Furcal
RHP Derek Lowe         	        IF Nomar Garciaparra
RHP Greg Maddux          	OF Matt Kemp
RHP James McDonald      	2B Jeff Kent
RHP Chan Ho Park        	1B James Loney
RHP Cory Wade         	        C Russell Martin
IF Pablo Ozuna
OF Juan Pierre
OF Manny Ramirez
  
Lineup Shuffle
Torre said he will switch his batting order against Philadelphia's left-handed starting pitchers, beginning with Cole Hamels in Game 1. Russell Martin and Andre Ethier, who batted second and fourth respectively against the Cubs, will switch places. Blake DeWitt and Casey Blake, who batted seventh and eighth respectively against the Cubs, also will switch spots against left-handers.  

Torre said Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda will start Games 1, 2 and 3. The Dodgers could start Lowe on three days' rest in Game 4, but Torre said Greg Maddux and Clayton Kershaw also are candidates. 

Gary Bennett, the Dodgers' backup catcher who hasn't played since May because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, made the trip with the club because he wanted to be present for the Dodgers postseason.  

"Absolutely," he said. "It's still fun to be here. I still get to give guys high fives and enjoy the postseason experience."  

Bennett's choice to remain with the team is contrasted to Brad Penny who left the club in late September when he was unable pitch again this season and Andruw Jones, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list on Sept. 13.

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