Belisario, Kuo take steps toward return
Relievers expected back by the end of the month
LOS ANGELES -- Relievers Ronald Belisario and Hong-Chih Kuo continue progressing toward a return to the club.
Belisario, on the restricted list after showing up for Spring Training five weeks late, threw 15 pitches in his second game Monday and is scheduled for another Wednesday. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said if that one goes well, the tentative plan is a two-inning outing Saturday and back-to-back inning appearances next week.
That could bring him back to the active roster by next weekend.
Kuo, disabled with his elbow problems, had an impressive bullpen session in Florida on Sunday and will have another Wednesday or Thursday. If he gets past that, Honeycutt said Kuo might need only one more bullpen session before going out on a Minor League rehab assignment without throwing a simulated game.
Conceivably, Kuo could be looking at a return right around the end of the month, also.
Ausmus worried about back
Catcher Brad Ausmus has had back problems before, but the one that now has him on the disabled list for the first time in his career also has him concerned more than ever.
Ausmus had an epidural injection Monday, but he still had pain, still can't get a decent night's sleep and still can't sit in a chair for any long period.
"I'm hoping to have some positive effect from the injection in the next 24 to 48 hours," said Ausmus. "I am more concerned this time. Numbness means a nerve is being pushed, and when a nerve is pushed, it could be damaged. I've never had pain down the leg or numbness, so I'm concerned."
Turning 41 in May, Ausmus knows that if the problem doesn't respond to conservative therapy like an injection, then surgery would likely happen, and this figured to be his final season, anyway.
"You'd hate for it to end like this," he said.
Torre talks Yankees
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he doesn't have plans to call Yankees skipper Joe Girardi today after Girardi is presented his 2009 World Series championship ring. Torre, who won four World Series with the Yankees as manager from 1996-2007, spoke with Girardi in Spring Training and said Girardi knows well how he feels about him.
"It's a proud moment for me too," Torre said. "I talked to him before he accepted the job over there, and wished him luck and told him to basically just go about it the way it should be. He went through a tough year two years ago [with the Marlins]. I'm happy for him. It worked out for wrong reasons, but he learned a lot, not only dealing with players but with ownership."
In their home opener today, the Dodgers are facing Arizona's Ian Kennedy, who made his debut with Torre's Yankees in 2007. Kennedy struggled in 14 games for New York over the last three seasons before he was part of a three-team trade this offseason that landed Curtis Granderson in the Bronx. Some of those struggles, Torre said, can be chalked up to the pressure of New York.
"I sense just from reading statements and quotes that he seemed to be a little more sensitive than you can get away with in New York, let's put it that way," Torre said.
Torre refused to comment when asked whether umpire Joe West stepped out of line by criticizing the pace of Yankees-Red Sox games last week, but did vouch for the intensity of the series.
"These people sitting in the stands, they're not wishing they'd get this thing over with," Torre said. "All I can tell you is a Yankees-Red Sox game is unlike anything else."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter and Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.