Kuo scratched from start in Taiwan

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan -- Dodgers pitcher and Taiwan native Hong-Chih Kuo was scratched from his scheduled start Sunday after experiencing some soreness in his surgically-repaired left pitching elbow.

Kuo and Dodgers manager Joe Torre both said they don't believe the injury is anything major, but because of Kuo's history of arm troubles -- he has had four operations on his elbow, including two Tommy John surgeries -- they believed it was prudent to avoid risking another injury.

Kuo said he was nearly in tears as he addressed the Taiwanese media and informed them he would not be able to pitch Sunday in front of his home fans.

"It's tough, I'm very sad," said Kuo, one of the Dodgers most dependable left-handers out of the bullpen last season. "I feel OK to pitch, but we don't want it to get worse, so I told Joe and Joe told me, 'Let's just shut it down and get ready for the season.'"

Torre said he believed Kuo could probably pitch, but that he worried about him trying to do too much in front of his hometown and home-country fans in Kaohsiung, which is about an hour from Tainan City, where Kuo grew up.

"With what he's had to come back from in his career, pain is nothing new for him," Torre said. "But I'd never forgive myself if something happened out there in front of his home crowd."

Officially Kuo has been shut down indefinitely, but Torre said the Dodgers medical staff is very familiar in treating his medical issues.

"I don't think it's anything they don't already know about him," Torre said.

Ramona Shelburne is a reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com