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Furcal, Kuo Added to All Star Rosters
The Dodgers have two more entrants to Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game in Anaheim: shortstop Rafael Furcal and left-handed relief pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo.
This marks the second time for Furcal in the Midsummer Classic who went in 2004 with the Atlanta Braves and the first for Kuo who also becomes the first Taiwanese player in the All Star Game.
“It was a surprise,” Kuo said. “It’s a good thing for me.”
It is especially good for Kuo whose career has been marred with four elbow surgeries and his inability to find the strike zone early in the 2009 season.
“Kuo has been a remarkable medical miracle I guess you could say,” manager Joe Torre said. “He’s gone through a lot of hills and valleys. His strength is from within.”
Dodger trainer Stan Conte said that Kuo spends five to six hours before games getting treatment in order to be prepared to enter a game.
“[The medical staff] helps me a lot,” Kuo said, “I do that not just to be an All Star. That’s how I stay out here and try to help the team and stay healthy.”
Whatever he does seems to be helping. Although he began the season on the disabled list with a sore elbow, since coming off on April 22 he has a 3-1 record in 25 games with a 1.03 ERA, 383 ERA+, 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings and has given up only one homer.
Furcal and Kuo will join right fielder Andre Ethier and closer Jonathan Broxton making it the first time the Dodgers will be sending four players to the All-Star Game since they sent five in 1995 - Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo, Jose Offerman, Mike Piazza and Todd Worrell made the team that year. This will the first time for Ethier who was voted in as a starter by the fans and the second time for Broxton.
ELY OPTIONED. Before today’s game, right-handed starter John Ely was optioned to AAA Albuquerque and Jon Link was recalled. Ely posted a 19.80 ERA giving up 11 earned runs in five innings against the Florida Marlins on Monday and the Chicago Cubs Saturday afternoon.
“We decided he needs to get back on track,” Torre said. “John certainly understood that, and he’s going down there with the attitude we needed from him.”
Link is stoked for his fifth trip back to the big club this season threatening to surpass the six round trips Blake DeWitt made last season.
“We’re going to blow that out of the water,” Link joked.
Link has one overriding philosophy that trumps the difference between pitching in the Pacific Coast League and pitching in the Major Leagues: “Just throw the ball over the plate,” he said.
This threw uncertainty on who will be the fifth starter for the July 19 game against the San Francisco Giants
“By the time we get there we’ll have one,” Torre said.
Names have been bandied about including Carlos Monasterios, Jeff Weaver and even James McDonald and Claudio Vargas. But Torre emphasized that it is all speculation at this point.
“We have a little time before we have to make that decision,” Torre said.