Tomko opened last season going 5-1 with a 2.88 ERA as a starter. He tailed off and then strained an oblique muscle. Upon his return, he volunteered to pitch out of the bullpen and did well for the first month, allowing two earned runs in 14 1/3 innings. But he had a trip that undermined his season -- a Sept. 9 blown save at Shea Stadium and a pair of bad outings at Wrigley Field in losses on Sept. 12 and 14. Tomko was charged with six earned runs in 1 1/3 innings in that Cubs series or his 3.64 ERA as a reliever for the year would have been 1.84. Tomko's two postseason appearances were equally forgettable.
Manager Grady Little is clearly leaning toward starting Kuo next Saturday in Pittsburgh, the next time Tomko's spot comes around, but that's contingent on Kuo's scheduled start on Monday for Triple-A Las Vegas. If not Kuo, Little indicated long reliever Chad Billingsley was next in line.
Disabled pitcher Jason Schmidt's planned simulated game was postponed because he came down with flu-like symptoms. Little said he expected Schmidt to need "a couple of days" to recover, so he might not face hitters until next week when the club is in Washington.
Infielder Wilson Valdez cleared waivers and will remain in the organization after being outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas. Valdez was designated for assignment on May 15 to make room for the promotion of Kuo.
When the Dodgers talk about their rotation, it's not necessarily starting pitchers.
Little continues his quest to find the right lineup mix by rotating his young players. On Friday night, Tony Abreu started at third base. For Saturday's day game, Abreu is expected to start at second base while Jeff Kent rests, and Wilson Betemit is set to man third. On Sunday, Little is considering experimenting with Andy LaRoche in right field. LaRoche played some outfield at Triple-A Las Vegas this year.
Marlon Anderson, who underwent elbow surgery May 10, is already throwing fairly aggressively. He is expected to miss two months.
Takashi Saito has converted 38 of his first 40 career save chances, which, according to STATS, LLC, ties him with Eric Gagne for the best percentage in the first 40 opportunities since the save became an official statistic in 1969. Saito pitched a scoreless ninth on Tuesday to lower his ERA to 1.71. Jonathan Broxton ranks third on that list with a 1.08 ERA. Saito has converted his last 24 save opportunities dating back to 2006, the third-longest active streak in the Majors, behind Atlanta's Mike Gonzalez and New York's Billy Wagner, who each have 29 straight saves.
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In Saturday's 12:55 p.m. PT game at Dodger Stadium, Mark Hendrickson (2-1, 3.22 ERA) opposes Carlos Zambrano (4-4, 5.61).