Kuroda to get extra rest before next start

Kuroda to get extra rest before next start

LOS ANGELES -- Hiroki Kuroda's three-game slump has prompted the Dodgers to work in an extra day of rest for him next week by again juggling the schedule of Brad Penny's return from shoulder problems.

Penny, who was scheduled to pitch in a Minor League rehab assignment Wednesday at Class A Inland Empire, instead will throw a bullpen session Wednesday and then pitch in a Minor League assignment Saturday for Triple-A Las Vegas in Oklahoma City, not far from Penny's ranch outside Tulsa.

Penny, disabled since June 15, will be inserted into the Dodgers rotation next Friday night in San Francisco against the Giants, with Kuroda being pushed back to Saturday night. Including the Monday travel day, Kuroda will get a week between starts, similar to the scheduling he's familiar with in Japan.

Manager Joe Torre met with Kuroda on Tuesday to discuss his Monday loss, in which he made a mental mistake by throwing to the wrong base, triggering a five-run fourth inning for a seven-run deficit. Kuroda is 0-2 since the All-Star break with a 13.11 ERA.

Torre said Kuroda told him he was physically fine but mislocating his pitches. Of course, that's what Kuroda said just before admitting he had shoulder discomfort that put him on the disabled list from June 13 to July 2.

"Right now, there are times he feels he can do certain things, but he just can't consistently throw breaking balls. We've decided to give him an extra day of rest. There's no solution at this point, no one thing we feel we can change.

"Yesterday, his splitter was good and the fastball was it. He just isn't finishing off, reaching out. We remind him. This was one of the problems he had when he was hurting. He assures us he's not, but it might still be in his mind."

Speaking of Kuroda's mind, Torre said the Japanese veteran and MLB rookie was rattled by his misplay, when he threw late to second base on a comebacker, but overall was more frustrated by his inability to do what he wants with his pitches.

Kuroda was so frustrated, in fact, that he spent 20 minutes running wind sprints in the outfield long after all of his teammates had gone home after his Monday night start.

"I had to do something before I went home to relieve the stress," said Kuroda. "I was really frustrated and had to let it out. It's something I've done before in Japan. One time, I walked home from the stadium. It's not easy to relieve the stress after a game like that."

In other pitching news, closer Takashi Saito returned to the clubhouse after a trip home to Japan. He's been disabled since July 13 with the kind of sprained elbow ligament that usually requires Tommy John reconstruction, but Saito continues to try to rehabilitate the injury without surgery. He said he is now pain-free in routine movements and will not try to throw for another week or so.

Saito said his rehab could take longer than the targeted Sept. 1 return date.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.