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05/18/09 9:19 PM ET

Kuroda feels fine after simulated game

Three-inning stint goes well for injured right-hander

LOS ANGELES -- Disabled Opening Day starter Hiroki Kuroda passed another test on the road back to the rotation Monday by pitching a three-inning simulated game at Dodger Stadium.

Manager Joe Torre said Kuroda will start a Minor League rehab assignment Friday night if he feels no ill effects Tuesday from the strained left oblique muscle that has had him on the sidelines since April 7.

"I think he'll need two [rehab starts] at a minimum, for me, for his arm strength," Torre said. "Nothing bothered him, he didn't feel a thing."

Kuroda pitched the first two innings to Juan Castro and Xavier Paul behind a protective screen, resting between innings, then warming up again. He pitched the final inning without the screen at Torre's request.

"Whether he realizes it or not," Torre said, "you don't finish off the breaking ball with the screen in front. He seemed fine."

Kuroda concurred.

"Physically, yes," he said. "Mentally, there might be a little fear, but I'll get rid of it by throwing in game situations."

Jason Schmidt continued his rehab assignment Sunday night by throwing seven innings for Inland Empire, but Torre said the club will have Schmidt use up the maximum number of days allowed on the assignment to build arm strength. Schmidt still hasn't regained velocity, according to reports.

"He's learning how to pitch with a little less velocity and he knows how," Torre said.

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