DENVER -- Disabled pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, struck on the head by a line drive 11 days ago, passed another test Wednesday in his recovery from a concussion, throwing a full bullpen session, and he could face hitters for the first time this weekend.
Kuroda said the tentative plan is to throw a simulated game with Dodgers batters Saturday in Cincinnati and possibly a Minor League game next week. Kuroda, nailed above the right temple by a line drive off the bat of Rusty Ryal in Arizona, said he probably would throw from behind a screen the first time "for protection."
However, he said he is not overly worried about any lingering psychological effect he might have from the incident.
"In a game, I don't think anyone is going to hit my pitch, so I don't need a screen," he said. "Once a pitcher feels fear of hitters, that's probably the end of his career. Maybe somewhere in the back of your head there's a fear, but like I said, once you think that way, your career is probably over."
Kuroda said he was told by a mutual friend that former Dodgers pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii "was worried about me." Kuroda said he remembered Ishii being hit in a similar fashion. Ishii was nailed in the forehead by a line drive off the bat of Houston's Brian Hunter on Sept. 8, 2002, suffering a fractured skull that required surgery. He missed the remainder of the season.
Ishii continues to pitch in Japan.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.