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Hong-Chih Kuo Named 2008 Set Up Man Of The Year

Fans pick annual favorites on MLB.com.

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Dodger left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo today was named the 2008 Set-Up Man of the Year, as voted on by fans on MLB.com.  The award is part of the website’s This Year in Baseball Awards.  The Taiwan native received 30.3 percent of the vote, ahead of Tampa Bay ’s Grant Balfour (19.2 percent), the Cubs’ Carlos Marmol (17.6 percent), and the Angels’ Scot Shields (7.5 percent).

Kuo’s 1.69 ERA (13 ER/69.1 IP) as a reliever in 2008 led the National League and ranked seventh in the Majors (min. 50.0 innings).  The 27-year-old bounced back from left rotator cuff and left elbow injuries in 2007 to pitch a career-high 80.0 innings over a career-best 42 games (three starts).  Kuo went 5-3 with 12 holds, one save, and a 2.14 ERA overall.  He finished tied for second on the Dodgers in holds with Joe Beimel, behind only Jonathan Broxton’s 13.

One of five Taiwan-born players in Major League Baseball history, Kuo struck out 96 batters in his 80.0 innings for an average of 10.80 strikeouts per 9.0 innings.  He limited the opposition to a .204 average, including a .202 mark (19-for-94) by left-handed hitters.  Beginning July 27, left-handed hitters went just 3-for-23 (.130) against him.

Kuo earned his first big league save on August 14 vs. Philadelphia , closing out a 3-1 win with a two scoreless innings.

In four Major League seasons, all with the Dodgers, Kuo is 7-13 with a 3.90 ERA in 87 games (14 starts).