Kuroda Close to Coming Back

Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda may be getting close to rejoining the team almost two months after opening day, when he made his only start of the season to date. Kuroda suffered a mildly strained left oblique muscle in his regular bullpen session following that first start. He was shelved two days later and has been on the disabled list ever since.

Kuroda made his second rehabilitation start for Class A Inland Empire on Wednesday night against Modesto and was touched for seven runs (five earned) on nine hits over five innings, but the fact he was able to get so deep into the game was the important thing.

"Kuroda felt good, and he threw well," manager Joe Torre said. "His movement just wasn't what he wanted. We will make a decision after he throws his bullpen (session on Friday). He didn't have an arm issue, so I'm not sure he needs another start down there."

Kuroda conceivably could return to the rotation and start Monday night, when the Dodgers begin a nine-game homestand against Arizona.



NOTES, QUOTES --RHP Ramon Troncoso retired six batters Thursday to earn his third save of the season, two of which have involved him pitching at least two innings. His first career save came in a four-inning effort at Colorado on April 25, when he relieved a struggling James McDonald with a tenuous, one-run lead after five innings and shut out the Rockies the rest of the way.

--LHP Clayton Kershaw earned his third win Wednesday, which is fourth on the team behind Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton and Eric Stults. Kershaw's 4.34 ERA is highest among Dodger starters.

--LHP Eric Stults, returning from a thumb injury, was unimpressive as he allowed four earned runs and walked seven over 4 1/3 innings Monday. He threw 95 pitches but said the poor outing had nothing to do with his thumb.

BY THE NUMBERS: 10 -- Multi-hit games for LF Juan Pierre in his first 16 games as the fill-in for suspended slugger Manny Ramirez.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Before the series, (Torii Hunter) told me, 'Don't hit it to center.' I'll get him back, Hey, he's got eight Gold Gloves. He's been doing it for years. He's the best. He comes out of nowhere." -- Center fielder Matt Kemp after Torii Hunter robbed him of an extra-base hit despite slamming into the center-field wall in Sunday's game against the Angels.

ROSTER REPORT
--SS Rafael Furcal returned to the starting lineup Thursday for the first time since Saturday after battling soreness in his lower back and buttocks. Manager Joe Torre said Furcal probably will sit Friday, when the Dodgers play a day game after a night game, but that he will play Saturday and Sunday. Torre has been giving Furcal at least one day off a week this season, even when he has been healthy, to protect his surgically repaired lower back.

--OF Xavier Paul was released from a Los Angeles hospital Wednesday. Paul had been hospitalized with a skin infection that landed him on the 15-day disabled list last week. It isn't clear how close Paul is to being activated, but there is a good chance he will be optioned back to Class AAA Albuquerque when he is ready to play because there was concern on the part of club officials before Paul was sidelined that his development was being hampered by a lack of regular playing time.

--LHP Hong-Chih Kuo struggled in a simulated game earlier this week, when he battled control problems, but he looked better in a subsequent bullpen session. Kuo has been on the disabled list for all of May with a right elbow strain. It is merely the latest in a long line of injuries for the increasingly fragile Kuo.

--2B Orlando Hudson's career-high 17-game hitting streak ended Thursday when he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and two groundouts. Hudson hit .370 (27-for-73) during the streak. It was the longest hitting streak by a Dodger since Matt Kemp hit in 19 in a row last July 9-Aug. 1.

--LHP Will Ohman was placed on the 15-day disabled list after Thursday night's game with a shoulder injury. To fill his roster spot, the club recalled C A.J. Ellis from Class AAA Albuquerque. The Dodgers had been carrying 13 pitchers and will now be carrying three catchers for the first time in several years other than in September, when rosters expand.

*MA*S*H* 4077 MEDICAL WATCH:
SS Rafael Furcal (buttocks tightness) did not play May 25-27. He returned to action May 28.

LHP Will Ohman (sore left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 29.

OF Xavier Paul (staph infection) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 21.

LHP Hong-Chih Kuo (left elbow strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 30. He resumed baseball activities in mid-May, and he threw a simulated game in late May.

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (strained left oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list April 11. He threw a bullpen session May 12 and a simulated game May 18. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire on May 22. He could be activated as soon as June 1.

RHP Jason Schmidt (right shoulder surgery) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 30. He made the first of two rehab starts for Class A Inland Empire on May 12. He started for Class AAA Albuquerque on May 23, but he was shut down May 26 due to right shoulder irritation.

RHP Claudio Vargas (right elbow tendinitis) went on the 60-day disabled list retroactive to April 6. He might return as soon as he's eligible.

INF Doug Mientkiewicz (dislocated right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list April 17, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 30. He had surgery April 20, and he is unlikely to return before September.

   ROTATION:
   LHP Randy Wolf
   RHP Chad Billingsley
   LHP Clayton Kershaw
   LHP Eric Stults
   LHP Eric Milton

   BULLPEN:
   RHP Jonathan Broxton 
   RHP Cory Wade
   RHP Guillermo Mota
   RHP Ronald Belisario
   RHP Ramon Troncoso
   LHP Brent Leach
   RHP Jeff Weaver

   CATCHERS:
   Russell Martin
   Brad Ausmus
   A.J. Ellis

   INFIELDERS:
   1B James Loney
   2B Orlando Hudson
   SS Rafael Furcal
   3B Casey Blake
   INF Juan Castro
   INF Mark Loretta

   OUTFIELDERS:
   LF Juan Pierre
   CF Matt Kemp
   RF Andre Ethier
   OF Jamie Hoffmann

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