LOS ANGELES -- After struggling while trying to warm up in the bullpen Friday, including throwing two pitches over the bullpen fence and onto the field, Hong-Chih Kuo was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Thursday, with a left elbow strain Saturday. His replacement is left-hander Brent Leach, who was recalled from Double-A Chattanooga after allowing just one run over 13 innings while striking out 17 and walking eight in nine appearances. "He's been doing all right," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of Leach, who has no Major League experience. "He has a real good move to first and a real good changeup. He got in a lot of work with us during Spring Training, so really we just wanted to replace a lefty reliever with a lefty reliever."More
Leach, who was a sixth-round pick out of Delta State University in 2005, pitched in five Spring Training games for the Dodgers, allowing four runs over 4 1/3 innings in five games. The 26-year-old's changeup is his out-pitch, and it's worked well for him in the Minors -- as he has struck out 303 batters over 274 innings in his career. But he's also been wild, allowing 149 career walks as well. Leach was the Dodgers' best option, though, because he was already on the 40-man roster. "It was easier because he was on the 40-man," Torre said. "Especially after bringing up Jeff Weaver, who wasn't on the 40-man." Kuo, who was the team's top setup man last season with a 2.14 ERA, struggled with his control this season by allowing four runs over 5 1/3 innings while walking four. It was most apparent Friday, when just four of the 15 warmup pitches he threw were catchable. "It looked like he just had trouble getting loose, obviously," Torre said. "And he's had some problems like this before." Torre said Kuo will likely take a week off from throwing before rebuilding strength in his elbow, which has twice undergone Tommy John ligament reconstruction surgery. "We're giving him a couple of days off," Torre said. "We'll let it quiet down for a week or so."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less