Saturday, March 13, 2010

Taiwan Trip Turning Terribly Tragic

To paraphrase SoSG regular Josh S. during the Game Thread for the rained-out, canceled Dodgers game in Taiwan:

So, let's recap this trip:


And about that sore elbow of Hong-Chih Kuo:

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Hong-Chih Kuo said he "almost cried" when he told the Dodgers training staff that his elbow was sore again, and the news didn't do manager Joe Torre any good, either.

Torre had to scratch Kuo from the start of his life Saturday night at 10 p.m. PT, a chance to pitch one inning in front of his mother against an All-Star team from his native Taiwan.

"It's nothing major -- he wants to pitch," Torre said of Kuo, whose elbow, operated on four times already, has no margin for error. "But if something happened in front of his home crowd ... We think it's normal Spring Training stuff, but can't take a chance."

Josh Towers, whose Friday start was washed out, will start in place of Kuo on Saturday.

Kuo's injury was revealed only moments after Friday's exhibition game was rained out, back-to-back blows to a goodwill series that had started so upbeat.

But Kuo's news, unlike the rainout, could impact the roster and the season, especially with the continued absence of fellow setup man Ronald Belisario, indefinitely stuck in Venezuela with visa problems.

The Dodgers' bullpen, considered last year to be a team strength, is uncertain halfway through Spring Training. Jonathan Broxton is healthy, but George Sherrill has had some nagging injuries. Now Kuo is down.

Also recall that Lucas May was hit in the ankle in Game 1 (a loss), which does not sound serious but could leave us pretty thin at catcher, with Russell Martin also ailing. And Manny Ramirez may be $170K richer for going, but he's still hitless.

Seems an awful long way to go for three lousy hits. Especially if this turns out to be a reprise of the Red Sox / Daisuke Matsuzaka / the World Baseball Classic last year, except this time affecting an entire team.