LOS ANGELES (Kyodo) Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda said Saturday he is hopeful of making a swift return to the mound after being placed on the disabled list with a strained muscle below his left ribs.

“I really want to get back on the mound soon but I guess I just have to be patient,” Kuroda said after playing catch at Dodgers Stadium.

“If my condition improves to a certain degree I will be able to make a smooth return. I haven’t gone full blast yet and this really is the start.”

Kuroda was scheduled to resume pitching practice last Tuesday after he was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 10 with a mild strain of the left oblique muscle.

But he revealed the injury was taking longer than he expected to heal after undergoing treatment in Los Angeles on Monday.

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