Have we seen the last of Hong-Chih Kuo?


Hello all Lasordas Lairians!

My name is Scott Andes, and I am new to the Fansided family, and LasordasLair. I am being called over from my old blog of Dodger Blue Forever along with my partner in crime Stacie Wheeler. We would like to say hello! We are proud and honored to be joining Lasorda’s Lair. For those of you who do not know us, we will officially introduce ourselves in an upcoming post. For those of you who are already familiar with Stacie and I, from our old home of DBF, Hello again!

Stacie and I will announce our game plan for LasordasLair in an upcoming post, and explain our new duties and what we will be bringing to our new home here at LasordasLair. Until then though, today we will be talking about Dodger’s reliever Hong-Chih Kuo. Various sources are claiming  that Hong-Chih Kuo has dropped out of the Taiwan all-star game.

Kuo was all set to pitch in the Goodwill series for his native Taiwan. The Goodwill series is a series of games between the Taiwan national team, and a group of Major League all-stars. the series of five games is scheduled to be played from Nov. 1-6. However just before Kuo was set to depart for Taiwan he reported elbow soreness in his pitching arm. After being examined in Los Angeles, the Dodgers team doctors advised him to drop out of the series. this scares the hell out of Stacie and I, as we have long feared Kuo’s arm to be blown to bits. It raises the question……

Have we seen the last of Hong-Chih Kuo?

Hong-Chih Kuo is the longest tenured Dodger and a true blue favorite of Stacie and I. we had long feared that Kuo’s surgically repaired arm would not hold up much longer, and it appears Kuo may have reached the end of the road. various sources are reporting that he will be examined again by Dodger’s lead doctor Neal ElAttrache.

Kuo is the all-star lefty reliever that dominated baseball during the 2010 season. after several years of injury and effectiveness, Kuo had his best season in 2010. posting a record low 1.20 ERA, not allowing a single hit to a left handed hitter before the all-star break. Kuo held lefties to an unreal BAA of .095 (6 for 63), and saved 12 games for the Dodgers.

Kuo continued to pitch during last winter, as we learned he must be pitching regularly to keep his surgically repaired arm in playing shape. Kuo is infamous for having four yes four major arm surgeries.

The 30 year old relief pitcher entered the 2011 season with high hopes that he could continue his domination from the 2010 season. However the 2011 season was a rough one for Kuo. Stacie and I knew right away that Kuo was not right. From the beginning we felt that Kuo may have been improperly used. We knew that Kuo has to be pitching for his arm, but manager Don Mattingly used him sparingly for the first month or so of the season.

Did Donnie misuse him? possibly, but we cant be sure. Kuo battled injury and ineffectiveness and was put on the disabled list in early may. First he suffered from a sore back in early april. Next he was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (the yips), which he has suffered from before. The Dodgers got him some help, and he eventually returned. However Kuo was still not right. Once back with the team, Donnie announced that he would begin to use Kuo regularly like any other relief pitcher, there by not treating him with “kid gloves” as he put it. Kuo agreed he wanted to be treated the same as any other pitcher. We knew he may never be the same again.

We were right, he wasn’t. Sure at times he showed glimpses of greatness, those outings reminding us of how utterly dominate he was. but it was not to be. Kuo finished the 2011 season with a 1-2 record, an ERA of 9.00 in 40 games, Kuo recorded 36 strikeouts, and 23 walks. as a comparison in 2010, Kuo had only 18 walks and 73 strikeouts in 56 games. Those numbers from this year are definitely not Kuo numbers.

Kuo is eligible for arbitration this winter. If the Dodgers decide to not offer him arbitration he could become a free agent if he decides to return. There have been various reports over the Internet wondering if the Dodgers will retain him or not. Kuo made 2.73 million dollars this year, and could still be in line for a raise, through arbitration despite his poor year.

reports have said that Kuo has been considering retirement, but hes always considering retiring. He is like the Brett Favre of the Dodgers, every year contemplating retirement, not knowing if his surgically repaired elbow will hold. Then like Favre in a way, he comes back. He always comes back…..or will he?

Kuo was actually set to start in the Goodwill games, and if you remember Kuo was a starting pitcher in his early days with the Dodgers, even starting a playoff game during the 2006 division series against the Mets. Once he was moved to the bullpen for good, is where he really began to flourish.

Kuo has told reporters that if he doesn’t return he would be interested in opening up a restaurant in his native Taiwan. He said he loves baseball but wants to make sure he is completely healthy before making a decision to return. If in fact this is the last we see of Kuo, we will never forget his powerful fastball and knee buckling slider.

Kuo will be Forever remembered for his trademark stare that struck fear in the hearts of many Major League hitters over the years, and if he is in fact finished as a pitcher, we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

This would also open up a spot potentially in the Dodger’s bullpen. I pose a question to our readers. if Kuo is retired, who do you think will take his spot in the pen? Let us know in the comments what you think.

Will we ever see the Kuo stare again? only time will tell, and you will have to check back in here with Lasordas Lair to find out. until then Dodger fans…………GO BLUE