Kuroda a possibility for the NLCS

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Seeing how badly I whiffed when I tried to handicap the Dodgers-Cardinals series last week, particularly when it came to my assessment of the Dodgers’ rotation, I think I’m going to get out out of the prognostication business and merely pass along information about that kind of thing and let history take its course.  Things like this:

Manager Joe Torre said Hiroki Kuroda could join the
Dodgers’ playoff roster and start against the Philadelphia Phillies
depending on how he feels today after pitching a simulated game Tuesday
in Peoria, Ariz.

Sidelined for the division series because of a
bulging disk in his neck, Kuroda completed five innings in 49 pitches
while facing minor leaguers before throwing an additional 21 pitches in
the bullpen. He reported no complaints about his neck.

That simulated game was actually yesterday, and according to True Blue L.A., he threw 75 pitches, over which Joe Torre said he had “surprisingly good” command.

Given his solid start against the Cardinals, Vicente Padilla has to be a definite, as does Kershaw and Wolf. Assuming, as is likely, that Kuroda can go, that would presumably mean that Chad Billingsley would slide to the pen and Jon Garland would be off the NLCS roster entirely.

In light of Padilla’s emergence and the return of Kuroda, a rotation that looked to be a weakness in the NLDS — at least to morons like me — now shapes up to be a strength against the Phillies.

Giancarlo Stanton will defend his Home Run Derby title

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The Marlins announced on Sunday that outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will defend his Home Run Derby title when the city of Miami host’s the All-Star Game festivities next month.

Stanton, 27, defeated Todd Frazier in the finals of last year’s Home Run Derby at Petco Park, hitting 20 home runs to Frazier’s 13. Stanton hit a total of 61 home runs in the Derby. This will be the third Home Run Derby in which Stanton has participated.

Stanton also went 1-for-3 with a solo home run to help the Marlins defeat the Cubs 4-2 on Sunday. He’s now batting .274/.357/.551 with 20 home runs and 49 RBI in 311 plate appearances.

Aaron Hicks to go on the disabled list with an oblique injury

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.

Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.