Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kuo Feeling Groovy

Since we've only got one guy in the bullpen who can get lefties out, it's good hearing from Ken Gurnick that Taiwanese heartthrob Hong-Chih Kuo, whose elbow is held together with rubber bands and duct tape, is feeling good going into the 2011 season:

PHOENIX -- One of the few Dodgers pitchers who hasn't had a bullpen session in the first two days of Spring Training is the one who never stopped throwing in the offseason.

And the only one who never stopped throwing in the offseason is the one who has management holding its collective breath every time he throws a pitch.

Of course that's left-handed reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, he of the four elbow operations and, last year, a record-setting 1.20 ERA.

"It's counter-intuitive," conceded trainer Stan Conte. "But there's really no way to explain the guy. There's everybody else, then there's Kuo. We didn't shut him down this winter because he was going so good at the end, we didn't want to change anything, so he kept throwing about 50 or 60 percent without stopping.

"We figured once he stopped, he might not be able to start again, sort of like an old car that keeps running. The problem with an arthritic joint, you don't feel it as much when it moves as when it doesn't move and you try to get it going again. At least, that's the theory."

Kuo played catch every day and said he's feeling fine right now, although history shows he encounters some form of elbow problem virtually every spring, even last year, when he started the season on the disabled list but made the All-Star team and then the Dodgers' record books, even saving 12 games after inheriting the closer's job when Jonathan Broxton faltered.

"We're going to work him up slowly to what everybody else is doing," said pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. "Right now, he looks great and feels great. I'm confident that he's open with us and tells us how he feels. He's been honest and he understands himself better than anyone."

Hopefully that last point isn't just due to the language difference.


Kyle Baker said...

Did you see the SoSG reference in Dilbeck's Friday post?

Steve Sax said...

Thanks Dusty! Check your email...

Jason said...

I'm so excited! Steve Dilbeck is vaguely aware that I exist! Okay, maybe I'm not so excited.