PHOENIX -- Nobody on the current roster has been a Dodger longer than Hong-Chih Kuo, but he's not sure whether he wore the uniform Wednesday for the last time.
Kuo kept going through four elbow operations, but the anxiety disorder that sidelined him this year still has him uncertain if he'll continue playing. Unlike last winter, when he threw nonstop, he said he will soon return to Taiwan and shut it down mentally and physically.
"I need a break," said the 30-year-old, who signed in 1999. "I love baseball and that's why I keep going. If I want to still play and somebody wants to give me a try, I play. If not, fine with me. I'll miss it. But I don't want to play unless I enjoy it again."
Kuo still shows flashes of the brilliance that led to a 1.20 ERA and an All-Star appearance last year, but 23 walks in 27 innings this year and a 9.00 ERA comes with the yips, baseball's pitching manifestation of anxiety disorder. Kuo has had spells when he doesn't know where the ball is going and he said he doesn't want to let down a team that is counting on him.
"This offseason for me will be more interesting because I have to decide if I can get my mind set to do whatever I have to do to enjoy baseball again," he said.
If not, Kuo said he will turn the page on baseball entirely, maybe open a restaurant back home.
"I like to eat," he said. "I like to cook, but I'm not very good at it."
The Dodgers will also have a decision to make if Kuo wants to return. He earned $2.725 million this year and is eligible for a healthy raise through arbitration. But the Dodgers have to consider nontendering Kuo, because they don't know which one will show up -- the one from 2010 or 2011.
Kuo said he understands.
"They gave me the opportunity to come back and the team has to make a decision," he said. "They've done everything for me. I couldn't have done it by myself. I'm lucky they gave me the opportunity to keep going."
Another Opening Day nod on tap for Kershaw
PHOENIX -- On the final day of the 2010 season, incoming manager Don Mattingly told Clayton Kershaw he would be the 2011 Opening Day starter for the Dodgers.
Did Mattingly tell Kershaw the same thing Wednesday for the 2012 Opening Day assignment?
"He probably assumes it now," Mattingly said of his Cy Young candidate and staff ace. "It seemed right last year."
It will be Kershaw's second Opening Day assignment. Oddly, that will give him one more than the lefty he's often compared to, three-time Cy Young winner Sandy Koufax. Since 1945, the most Opening Day starts for a Dodgers pitcher is seven by Don Drysdale and Don Sutton, and Fernando Valenzuela had six.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.