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Hong-Chih Kuo headed for fifth elbow operation [Updated]

Kuo3There is nothing fair about it, no logic to make it all right, no rationalization to soothe the ache.

Hong-Chin Kuo is headed to elbow surgery, again.

Kuo was examined Wednesday by Dodgers physician Neal ElAttrache, who found a "loose body" of enough significance in his left elbow that arthroscopic surgery has been scheduled for Friday.

That would be elbow operation No. 5 for Kuo.

This one is hardly as significant as the two Tommy Johns that were included in those four previous surgeries, but total number is staggering.

ElAttrache estimates this procedure will prevent Kuo from throwing for the next six to eight weeks, which would put him past the Dec. 12 deadline when teams must tender contracts to players –- like Kuo –- who are eligible for arbitration.

Kuo, 30, was unlikely to be tendered a contract by the Dodgers anyway. He is coming off his worst season (9.00 earned-run average), when for the second time in his career he battled an anxiety disorder.

Still, he worked so hard to come back from his last surgery –- and was so dominant in 2010 –- that the Dodgers may yet offer him some contract after the Dec. 12 deadline passes and he becomes a free agent.

It’s hard to imagine Kuo signing elsewhere, having been  with only the Dodgers since signing with the organization in 2000. He could sign a minor league contract laden with incentives should he make the club out of spring training.

Certainly, he has proved in the past he can battle back from injury. Unfortunately, he’s proved it repeatedly.

He was scheduled to leave Wednesday for Taiwan to play for his native country in an All-Star series against major leaguers.

[Updated at 3:40 p.m.: Kuo's agent, Alan Chang, said Kuo plans to play again next season.

"There's no thought of retirement,'' Chang said.]

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Hong-Chih Kuo delivers a pitch against the Angels on July 2. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / U.S. Presswire

 
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