Hong-Chih Kuo during a St. Patrick's Day spring training game with… (Lenny Ignelzi / Associated…)
It doesn’t look good for Hong-Chih Kuo, who for one brief season was about as dominant a relief pitcher as can be imagined.
But his comeback from a horrendous 2011 season with the Dodgers may have been dealt a sad and lethal blow Monday when he was released by the Seattle Mariners.
It’s hard to ever write off the gutsy Kuo, who was trying to come back from his fifth elbow operation and second bout of the yips. Still, he’s 30 and has gone through so very much, you have to wonder if this is not finally the end.
After his completely dominant 2010 season when the left-hander was elected to the All-Star team and his 1.20 earned-run average was the lowest for a reliever in team history, nothing could go right for him last year.
His second bout with anxiety disorder ruined his control, and it was hardly helped by a "loose body" in his elbow that required off-season surgery. After he finished 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA, the Dodgers elected not to tender him a contract.
An offer by the Mariners seemed a fresh start, but nothing went right for him this spring. In six appearances, he had a whopping 17.55 ERA, having allowed 13 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings on 14 hits and four walks.
Kuo was on the Mariners’ 40-man roster, so should he clear waivers as expected he could still get an invite back to camp on a minor-league contract. And maybe he goes that way. Little about his road has been smooth.
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