Hong-Chih Kuo, shown pitching against the Angels on Friday night, has given… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
Hong-Chih Kuo was perfect in his first outing since returning from an anxiety disorder that sidelined him for more than a month.
His next two appearances didn't go nearly as well. The Dodgers reliever gave up a three-run homer to Vernon Wells in the eighth inning during the Angels' 6-1 victory Saturday at Dodger Stadium, the second consecutive game in which the left-hander has given up multiple runs.
"I couldn't throw the breaking ball where I wanted it," Kuo said, "so I think they kept waiting on the fastballs."
Kuo entered with a runner on first base and two out. He walked Bobby Abreu before facing Wells, whom Kuo had struck out on Friday. Wells won the battle this time, sending the ball over the left-field wall.
Kuo retired Albert Callaspo to end an inning in which he threw seven of his 12 pitches for strikes. He said his anxiety disorder wasn't an issue.
"I just have to get better," said Kuo, who gave up two runs — one earned — in one third of an inning Friday. "Keep battling. Go out there and keep pitching better."
With the Dodgers approaching a stretch of six consecutive games with the designated hitter rule in effect at American League parks, Manager Don Mattingly was contemplating whether injured left fielder Marcus Thames would accompany the team on the trip or be placed on the disabled list.
Thames strained his left calf while running the bases in the second inning Friday. While an MRI exam was negative, Thames could run at only about 75% Saturday and may be limited to designated hitting or pinch-hitting at a time in which the Dodgers will need extra versatility.
"I just have to know if I can use him," Mattingly said. "At this point, I don't think there's any way he can play in the field."
On second thought …
Mattingly expressed some hesitation with his recently proposed idea of moving injured shortstop Rafael Furcal to second base so that rookie Dee Gordon could remain in the lineup.
"Even though he's willing to do whatever you ask," Mattingly said of Furcal, "that doesn't mean he really wants to do that. So I don't know if it's the right time. We'll keep having discussions, see what's going on with Dee and what we're thinking at that point" when Furcal returns from a strained side muscle.
Furcal is expected to spend time at shortstop and designated hitter during a rehabilitation assignment scheduled to start Sunday with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, Mattingly said, but the Dodgers have not discussed putting him at second base.
Jonathan Broxton, on the disabled list with a bone bruise in his right elbow, is scheduled to pitch in back-to-back minor league games beginning Sunday and could rejoin the Dodgers as soon as Friday, when they open a series against the Angels at Angel Stadium.... Infielder Juan Uribe, batting only .180 since coming off the disabled list earlier this month, was given the day off. Aaron Miles started at third base and went two for four.