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Kuroda may be back in NLCS mix

Kuroda may be back in the mix

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LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda worked out at Dodger Stadium on Monday, and is scheduled to fly to Arizona to pitch in a simulated game Tuesday against instructional league hitters at the club's Camelback Ranch complex.

Kuroda has recovered from a herniated disk in his neck, which forced him to skip his final regular-season start and kept him off the roster for the National League Division Series against the Cardinals.

A successful simulated game might put him back in the mix for one of the Dodgers' four starting slots in the NL Championship Series, which starts at 5:07 p.m. PT on Thursday at home against Philadelphia.

On Sunday, manager Joe Torre said his hesitancy about including Kuroda was because he hadn't pitched in game conditions.

However, Kuroda was the club's best pitcher in the 2008 postseason and started the Dodgers' only win against the Phillies in the NLCS, allowing two earned runs in six innings.

Kuroda is one of six starters from which Torre can choose. For the NLDS, he started Randy Wolf, Clayton Kershaw and Vicente Padilla, with Chad Billingsley scheduled to start a Game 4 that never took place, and Jon Garland in the bullpen.

Torre was prepared to start Kershaw in Game 5 of the NLDS. Adding Kuroda would mean dropping one of the four starters from the rotation and most likely one from the roster.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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