Hong-Chih Kuo was scheduled to pitch for the Chinese Taipei national team in the 2011 Taiwan All-Star series next week against a group of MLB players, but it turns out he’ll skip the series due to left elbow soreness.
Kuo has undergone four procedures on his elbow during his career, including two Tommy John surgeries.
Dodgers’ medical services director Stan Conte told Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles that while Kuo is being held out of the series as a precaution, he is scheduled to be examined by team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Wednesday morning.
“He was ramping back up and doing fine, but he felt pain in his elbow,” Conte said. “He called me … I thought it over, and with his history of elbow problems, we wanted to be sure. He didn’t sound real confident that his elbow is OK throwing (in Taiwan), so we decided not to send him there.”
Kuo, 30, was one of the most effective relievers in the sport in 2010, but posted an ugly 9.00 ERA over 27 innings this season and missed six weeks due to a recurring anxiety condition which affected his command.
Kuo made $2.725 million this season in his second year of arbitration-eligibility, but is likely to be non-tendered this winter. He hinted at the possibility of retirement in September, but Kuo’s agent Alan Chang said earlier this week that his client is committed to pitching in 2012.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that Mets starter Steven Matz has been pitching through pain for most of the season. He may need surgery to fix a nerve issue in his elbow. Matz was sidelined in spring training with an elbow injury and made his regular season debut on June 10.
Matz, 26, has struggled over 13 starts, posting a 6.08 ERA with a 48/19 K/BB ratio in 66 2/3 innings. Many were scrambling for explanations for his pitching woes and now they have it.
According to Carig, the Mets let Matz skip his bullpen sessions to help him pitch through the pain. Given the Mets’ shoddy history of dealing with injuries, that’s not a good look for the club.
Carig noted on Twitter that Jacob deGrom offers some optimism for Matz’s case. deGrom underwent right elbow surgery to repair ulnar nerve damage last September and bounced back to have a great season this year.
Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to throw three innings in a simulated game on Monday. That simulated game went so well, he threw an extra inning, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Kershaw will make a minor league rehab start next and could be activated towards the end of next week.
Kershaw, 29, has been on the disabled list since July 24 with a lower back strain. That put the pause button on another outstanding season. He’s carrying a 15-2 record with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.
The 87-35 Dodgers have run away with the NL West, needing some combination of 20 wins and 20 Rockies losses (19 for the third-place Diamondbacks) to officially clinch the division. While the Dodgers are all but mathematically assured of reaching postseason baseball, the club would still like to get Kershaw as ready as possible over the next month-plus.