Kuo to undergo yet another surgery on Friday
Expected to resume throwing 6-8 weeks following elbow procedure
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo will undergo a fifth operation on his left elbow on Friday.
Kuo, an All-Star in 2010 but plagued by anxiety disorder in 2011, will have a loose body removed arthroscopically by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. It is estimated that he will be able to resume throwing in six to eight weeks.
Kuo developed soreness this week just before he was scheduled to leave and pitch for the Taiwan National Team in a five-game exhibition series against a Major League All-Star team.
The injury is just the latest in the saga of the 30-year-old, who has been in the organization longer than anyone else on the roster. He's survived five Dodgers managers, five general managers and two owners.
Signed out of Taiwan at age 17, he struck out seven of the first 10 batters in his professional debut and also blew out his elbow, leading to the first of two Tommy John operations. After his second operation, he had to be talked out of retirement by teammates Darren Dreifort and Eric Gagne and Acey Kohrogi, executive director of Asian operations. His most recent operation was in 2007 for bone chips.
During the last week of the 2011 season, Kuo said he wasn't sure he would continue playing.
"I need a break," said Kuo, who originally 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'll play. If not, fine with me. I'll miss it. But I don't want to play unless I enjoy it again."
Kuo still showed flashes of the brilliance that led to a 1.20 ERA and All-Star appearance last year, but 23 walks in 27 innings this year and a 9.00 ERA came 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 latest injury makes Kuo a more likely non-tender candidate. He earned $2.725 million this year and is eligible for a raise through arbitration.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.