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04/18/08 7:19 PM ET

Kuo gets fifth starter nod for Dodgers

Left-hander set to start Tuesday night over righty Loaiza

ATLANTA -- Manager Joe Torre said on Friday that Hong-Chih Kuo will get the start on Tuesday night for the Dodgers in Cincinnati.

Kuo got the nod as the fifth starter over Esteban Loaiza for the second time, having started and pitched four innings last Tuesday night. Trying to strike out everybody he saw, Kuo ran up his pitch count with a 32-pitch first inning that included three consecutive walks and a run. But he also finished with six strikeouts.

"It worked last time," said Torre. "We hope to get more than four innings from Kuo. We like that rotation better than the other way around. That way is safer than the reverse."

Loaiza pitched five innings of relief, allowed one run and got the win. It was Loaiza's first appearance since an Apr. 7 start in Phoenix, when he allowed four first-inning runs, then retired 10 consecutive batters.

Torre indicated that a big reason for starting Kuo over Loaiza is Kuo's brittle elbow, which has undergone four operations and is not ideal for the up-and-down demands of relieving.

"In his case, we always have to be careful about warming him up," said Torre, who added that with a week between outings, Kuo was available for brief relief on Friday night. Torre attributed Kuo's wild spell to "excitement."

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