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Dodgers place No. 1 starter Kuroda on DL

Hiroki Kuroda's shoulder was a question mark after he decided to skip the WBC, but it's a strained oblique that's going to cost him at least two starts after he was placed on the DL.

Filling in for Kuroda on Saturday will be Eric Stults, who had a 3.49 ERA in seven starts for the Dodgers last season. That figure should have made him the favorite to become the fifth starter this year once it was determined that Jason Schmidt wouldn't be ready, but he gave up 16 runs -- 13 earned -- in 12 1/3 innings this spring. He struck out just four and walked eight.

The Dodgers seem optimistic that Kuroda will be back once his 15 days are up. After declining to spend what it would taken to bring in more pitching depth over the winter, they better hope that's the case. Right now, it's the two LA teams that would seem to have the most use for Pedro Martinez of any of the obvious contenders.