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Kuo close to returning

Kuo close to returning to Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES -- While the majority of the conversations about the Dodgers' pitching staff have centered on what moves the club will make to bolster its rotation or bullpen, the Dodgers might be on the verge of getting the services of a familiar reliever.

Hong-Chih Kuo is scheduled for his sixth rehab appearance, his fourth with Class A Inland Empire, on Friday night.

Kuo was a large part of the Dodgers' success last season, going 5-3 with a 2.14 ERA in 42 appearances. But this year Kuo registered only 5 1/3 innings of work before going on the disabled list in April with a left elbow strain.

Earlier this week, Kuo successfully threw on back-to-back days for the first time this year. At the time, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said that Kuo's ability to perform on consecutive days was a key consideration in deciding when Kuo would be ready to rejoin the team.

And before Friday's game against the Florida Marlins, Torre said that if Kuo's outing goes well, then the left-hander should be called up soon.

"The chances are we'll make a plan for this trip," Torre said.

After a three-game home series against the Marlins, the Dodgers travel to St. Louis for four games and then play in Atlanta for a three-game series.

Torre also gave an update on injured relievers Ronald Belisario (strained right elbow) and Cory Wade (right shoulder strain) on Friday.

He said that Belisario recently got an injection in his troublesome pitching arm, but that the shot isn't a signal of a more serious issue.

"It wasn't a concern, just one little spot that didn't go away," Torre said. "He should be throwing now. Both of them should be getting in a rehab game by the end of the road trip."

David Ely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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