Hong-Chih Kuo struggles in rehab appearance at Single-A

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Pitching in back-to-back games for the first time since being placed on the disabled list two weeks ago with a strained back, Hong-Chih Kuo allowed hits to four of the five batters he faced last night at Single-A.

Kuo had been slated to be activated Friday, but now Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that his return “is in doubt.”

His entire career has been filled with dominating performances in between injuries, but most of the previous problems have been arm-related and the Dodgers’ bullpen could really use him with Jonathan Broxton struggling and no one quite sure who should be closing games.

Kuo was nearly unhittable last season, throwing 60 innings with a 1.20 ERA and 73/18 K/BB ratio while opponents batted a ridiculous .139 against him. He has a 3.19 ERA in 268 career innings and his 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings lead all active left-handed pitchers.

Yankees acquire A.J. Cole from the Nats

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The New York Yankees have acquired reliever A.J. Cole from the Washington Nationals for cash considerations.

Cole was supposed to be the Nats’ fifth starter this year but that didn’t work out too well. He pitched in four games for the Nats, starting two, to the tune of a 13.06 ERA, having given up six home runs in 10.1 innings. That’s . . . something.

Don’t get too used to Cole on the New York roster, as this seems like one of those “give us an arm” for a couple of days deals, after which Cole will be DFA’d and will either accept an assignment to Scranton or be cut loose. Such is life at the fringes for a guy who is out of minor league options.