Dodgers looking forward to relievers' returns

Dodgers looking forward to relievers' returns

LOS ANGELES -- Even with the bad news that Vicente Padilla will undergo neck surgery, relief appears to be on the way for a beleaguered Dodgers bullpen.

It won't be immediate, but both Kenley Jansen and Hong-Chih Kuo are making progress, manager Don Mattingly said.

Jansen pitched an inning Monday night with Double-A Chattanooga in what might be his final rehab appearance. Kuo, out since May 9 with an anxiety disorder, threw a bullpen session before Monday's game.

Mattingly said he hoped to have Jansen (shoulder) come into a game with runners on base to see how he handles pitching from the stretch, and the Dodgers skipper got his wish. Jansen entered the game after a leadoff triple in the seventh, struck out the next batter, issued an intentional walk, then got a flyout that turned into an inning-ending double play when the runner was thrown out at home.

The Dodgers now will decide if he is ready. Thus far, Jansen has thrown to 12 batters and retired all but one (the intentional walk) in three rehab outings.

As for Kuo, Mattingly said he has been impressed with his lighthearted demeanor during his rehab. His next outing, Mattingly said, would probably be with Triple-A Albuquerque, but to play it safe, he might give him another chance with Class A Rancho Cucamonga.

Given the nature of Kuo's stint on the disabled list, Mattingly said most of the rehab process is up to the lefty reliever.

"We've kind of left this in his hands because he's really the one who knows," Mattingly said. "It's going good so we'll let him keep kind of dictating which way this goes."

For now, however, the Dodgers are using a 'pen that has been stretched thin by 10 games in 10 days, the last four of which came at Coors Field in Colorado. Mattingly was hoping Monday's starter, Hiroki Kuroda, could give the relievers a much-needed break.

"[We] hope that Hiro gives us a game," Mattingly said. "He's been pitching well, so we'll count on him to keep us in the game and we'll do what we have to do when we get to those innings."