SAN DIEGO -- Struggling Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo has had four consecutive ineffective outings that have Don Mattingly "a little bit" concerned, but the manager said he will continue to give Kuo the ball.There is no indication that the left elbow that has been operated on four times is bothering the southpaw. As for the anxiety disorder that sidelined Kuo for six weeks and has saddled him with the "yips" in past seasons, Kuo acknowledged Sunday that a lack of confidence "probably" is a contributing factor. Trainer Stan Conte said that would be normal. "That kind of issue doesn't go away," Conte said. "It stayed there every pitch of 2010 [when Kuo was an All-Star]. It's all in how he's able to handle it. His elbow is OK and he tells me he can go out there." On Sunday, Kuo allowed three hits, including a home run, and a walk. But he also finished the inning with a pair of strikeouts. "If he didn't have a long inning, I wanted to send him back out," said Mattingly. "Those last two, he let it go. He's having trouble with his secondary pitches. I'm concerned about anybody that's struggling. But it's like [Rafael Furcal]. You know it's there. The guy that was throwing last year is there. We've got to get him back. I have to be confident to continue to use him. "Our misfortune is giving us the opportunity to keep putting him in there. If we were a game back, it would be a lot harder." Kuo, who earns $2.725 million this season, has allowed eight earned runs on six hits over two innings for his last four appearances with seven walks and three strikeouts. His ERA, 1.20 last year, is more than 10 times higher this year at 12.46. He recently said he hadn't thought about whether he would play next year. For their part, the Dodgers might choose to non-tender Kuo rather than commit to paying him more than $3 million without knowing what production they can expect.
De La Rosa may need Tommy John surgery
SAN DIEGO -- Dodgers rookie pitcher Rubby De La Rosa has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, which usually means season-ending Tommy John surgery.The club said "options" are being considered regarding a course of action. De La Rosa was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday and replaced by John Ely, who was recalled from Albuquerque. De La Rosa underwent an MRI exam in Los Angeles and the club received the results after Monday night's 6-2 win over the Padres. There were no details given about the degree of the tear, but in rare cases where the ligament is only partially torn, healing has occurred without surgery. Regardless, he's almost certainly done for this season. "Anytime a guy says his elbow hurts, it's kind of scary," said manager Don Mattingly. The 22-year-old De La Rosa struggled in a loss to the D-backs on Sunday, making 103 pitches in four innings while allowing five runs and walking four. Included were back-to-back home runs by Ryan Roberts and Gerardo Parra. "He looked different," said Mattingly. "His body language. He wasn't working quick like usual. His tempo was off. We were seeing something different. It must have been that." De La Rosa told the media after the game that he felt fine physically, but actually had already told trainer Stan Conte that his elbow tightened after a third-inning pitch. It was hard to tell by his velocity. He hit 99 mph five times Sunday and his last pitch was clocked at 97. Conte said there was no swelling. "His last 'pen was really good, but then I heard he felt it in his last 'pen," said Mattingly. "Obviously, he didn't tell anybody. We wouldn't take any chances. But as a player, you're always feeling something and you figure it will probably go away." Mattingly said Ely would initially report to the bullpen and, with a day off Thursday, the club was considering skipping De La Rosa's spot one time before inserting a fifth-starter substitute. "I thought I saw something with his mechanics around the third inning," said catcher Dioner Navarro. "After the game, I talked to him and he said he had something with his arm. I guess he was trying to find a way to throw that didn't hurt." De La Rosa is 4-5 with a 3.71 ERA since his May callup from Double-A Chattanooga. He had allowed only four home runs in his previous 56 innings. At Albuquerque, Ely was 6-4 with a 5.43 ERA. He pitched in two games for the Dodgers during an early season callup with one start, going 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA. He was 4-10 last year with a 5.49 ERA.
Broxton's rehab has a setback
SAN DIEGO -- Injured Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton had to push back the beginning of his throwing program a week, manager Don Mattingly said Monday.Broxton has been on the disabled list almost three months with a bruised elbow. "It's 95 percent gone, but it needs to be 100 percent gone before he throws," said trainer Stan Conte. "We anticipate him throwing Sunday or Monday. There's still a minimum amount of discomfort." Mattingly defended Broxton's extended absence when it was suggested the right-hander wasn't in a hurry to return. Mattingly pointed out that Broxton will be a free agent after this season and needs to return to game action to establish his value before the season is over. "There's no benefit to him not to come back," said Mattingly. "We want him to come back. He's part of the family."
Padilla-owned horse wins in Santa Rosa
SAN DIEGO -- Injured pitcher Vicente Padilla didn't win any games for the Dodgers this year, but Sunday he won a horse race.Bud I Crushed It, a 4-year-old gelding Padilla bought this summer, won the 10th race at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa. Trained by Debbie Winick and ridden by Catalino Martinez, Bud I Crushed It won by 1 1/2 lengths. Padilla, who has raced horses for years in his native Nicaragua, pitched in only nine games for the Dodgers this year and underwent two operations. The first, which freed an entrapped radial nerve, sidelined him most of Spring Training. He was active for only three weeks before aggravating a bulging disk in his neck, which required season-ending surgery in June to fuse vertebrae. He is rehabilitating in Dallas, where he has a home, with the intent of returning to the game, although the Dodgers are not aware of another pitcher that has returned from neck fusion. Padilla will be a free agent after this season.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.