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Kuroda, Elbert added to NLCS roster

Kuroda, Elbert added to NLCS roster

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LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers made several changes to their roster for the NL Championship Series that opens on Thursday at 5:07 p.m. PT, adding pitchers Hiroki Kuroda and rookie Scott Elbert while deactivating pitchers Jeff Weaver and Jon Garland.

Kuroda, out of the first round with a herniated disk, will start Game 3. Elbert, inactive for the first round, was added as a third left-handed reliever in a bullpen that already has George Sherrill and Hong-Chih Kuo to help counter the Phillies' left-handed lineup. Elbert spent the past week working out at the club's Arizona complex.

Garland had been held in long relief for the first round against the Cardinals, but did not pitch. Weaver not only pitched, but was the winning pitcher in Game 1 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Randy Wolf.

Weaver, who had a comeback season after spending all last year in the Minor Leagues, was sent home from Wednesday's workout with flu-like symptoms, but manager Joe Torre said that was not a factor in the decision. Torre also said Weaver would be considered for a World Series roster.

"We just felt with this club [Philadelphia] we wanted the option of another left-hander," Torre said. "The left-handers we have are not really matchup guys. He's been throwing in Arizona [Instructional League games]. We told him every time he pitches to a left-hander to think it's [Ryan] Howard or [Todd] Helton. We brought him in tight games and he doesn't seem to be afraid of anything."

Elbert, who made two appearances in Arizona while the Dodgers were beating the Cardinals, is this year's James McDonald, making the postseason roster after limited Major League time. But during four callups, he struck out 14 of 36 left-handed batters, so Torre views him for a situational role. 

"I'd been rooting for them as if I was here," said Elbert. "It's fun to watch, to be honest. I'm very excited and ready to go."

With Kuroda moving into the rotation, Chad Billingsley goes to the bullpen to replace Garland as the long reliever. Billingsley was scheduled to start against the Cardinals in Game 4, which became unnecessary when the Dodgers swept the series in three games.

And Weaver goes to the cheerleading section.

"When it's something you can control, you put all your effort in it and do what you can, but when the decisions are by other people, there's not much you can do," said Weaver, whose postseason experience includes pitching the World Series clincher for St. Louis in 2006.

"I'm not going to sit at home and let it bother me. I'll worry about the future and hope, if we get to the World Series, that I'll be back in there. It's hard to put into words, but I take everything with a grain of salt. In my career I've learned that worrying about these things is more of a problem than it's worth."

NL Championship Series
Gm. 1 PHI 8, LAD 6 Wrap Video
Gm. 2 LAD 2, PHI 1 Wrap Video
Gm. 3 PHI 11, LAD 0 Wrap Video
Gm. 4 PHI 5, LAD 4 Wrap Video
Gm. 5 PHI 10, LAD 4 Wrap Video

Garland went 3-2 with a 2.72 ERA after being acquired from Arizona for Tony Abreu.

"I know it came down to Kuroda's health," Garland said Wednesday after learning he would be inactive. "It wasn't a surprise. I'm a pretty smart guy. I absolutely want to be playing. I don't take it happily. I want to be part of this and it's a tough one to take."

Garland noted that he still could be added to a World Series roster and he will remain with the team as "a spectator."

"I've had success against both the Angels and Yankees," he said. "I'm not writing off the World Series. This isn't my decision to make and there's nothing I can do about it now."

Billingsley took his demotion in stride. Even though he has led the club in wins the past two years, he scuffled some in September with a mechanical flaw. And for those with long memories, he was pushed around by the Phillies in two NLCS losses last year, although he pitched well against them during the regular season.

"I have no problem with it," Billingsley said of Torre's decision. "I've always told Joe that whatever situation he puts me in I'll always do the best I can. If this is what he thinks is best for the club, why should I get upset or frustrated? We're here to win games, we're not here for individual achievements."

Billingsley threw two scoreless innings of relief against the Mets in the 2006 playoffs, striking out Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado to escape one jam.

The roster:

Starting pitchers: Clayton Kershaw, Vicente Padilla, Kuroda and Randy Wolf.

Relief pitchers: Jonathan Broxton, George Sherrill, Kuo, Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncoso, Billingsley and Elbert.

Outfielders: Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Pierre.

Infielders: James Loney, Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, Juan Castro, Ronnie Belliard, Orlando Hudson and Mark Loretta.

Catchers: Russell Martin and Brad Ausmus.

Pinch-hitter: Jim Thome.

Torre said he will stick with Belliard as the starter at second base over All-Star Orlando Hudson.

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

{"content":["NLCS" ] }
{"content":["NLCS" ] }
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