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08/20/09 10:00 PM ET
Kuroda plays catch for first time since injury
Dodgers right-hander's concussion symptoms decreasing
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Injured Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda played catch on Thursday for the first time since being struck on the head by a line drive Saturday night and suffering a concussion. Trainer Stan Conte said Kuroda "still has symptoms, but they're decreasing each day." Conte said the symptoms include headaches and dizziness when he changes direction. Conte -- who had extensive experience dealing with the concussion that ultimately led to the retirement of San Francisco Giants Gold Glove catcher Mike Matheny -- said the rate of recovery for concussion victims varies by the individual. He said Kuroda would be checked again on Friday by Vernon Williams, a Los Angeles neurologist, in consultation with Dr. Michael Collins from the University of Pittsburgh. No further tests are expected to be taken of Kuroda, who went through a thorough battery of tests earlier this week after the frightening incident on Saturday night in Arizona when a line drive off the bat of Rusty Ryal struck Kuroda above the right temple. Kuroda is eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 31. His spot in the rotation will be taken by Vicente Padilla, who signed on Wednesday as a free agent. Padilla is scheduled to make his Dodgers debut on Aug. 27 in Denver. Conte said Kuroda elevated his heart rate to 130 on an elliptical exercise machine with no ill effects. He also made 60 tosses in the outfield from about 60 feet, his first baseball activity since throwing the fateful pitch. Conte said he also gave Kuroda a sensory test on Wednesday night by placing him in the bullpen for the first inning of the Dodgers-Cardinals game just to absorb the sights and sounds of a Major League game. "It did give him a little headache," said Conte, who then sent Kuroda home. "He'll have to learn how to deal with that. He wanted to sit in the dugout, but I told him he'd have to wear a helmet, and he didn't want that. So we negotiated the bullpen." The injury won't stop Kuroda from participating in the organization's week-long ThinkCure program. He will match the first $25,000 raised during Friday's Radiotelethon. Kuroda, who lost both parents to lung cancer, will be on hand to present his contribution.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.