Down on the Dodger Farms

ALL-STAR GAMES-- Two members of the Double-A Jacksonville Suns, third baseman Andy LaRoche and catcher Russell Martin, have been selected to play in the seventh annual XM Satellite Radio All-Star Futures Game, slated for Sunday, July 10 at Comerica Park in Detroit.

LaRoche, the Dodger Minor League Player of the Month in both April and May, will be on the United States team while Martin, a native of Canada, has been named to the World team. After going 4-for-5 with a home run, double and two RBI yesterday, LaRoche is batting .341 (14-for-41) with five homers, five doubles and 15 RBI in 10 games since being promoted from Single-A Vero Beach, where he batted .333 and had 21 homers and 51 RBI. LaRoche has 10 RBI in his last five games and his 26 total homers are tied with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga's Brandon Wood for the most in professional baseball. LaRoche's brother Adam, now a first baseman with the Atlanta Braves, participated in the 2003 Futures Game. Martin, meanwhile, has compiled a .441 on-base percentage for the Suns, batting .313 with five homers, 10 doubles, 39 RBI, 46 runs scored and 46 walks. He has reached base via a hit or walk in all but two of his 61 starts.

NAVARRO ALSO SEEING STARS -- Catcher Dioner Navarro of Triple-A Las Vegas has been chosen to play for the Pacific Coast League team in the Triple-A All-Star Game, which will be held on July 13 in Sacramento. Navarro, a member of the Dodgers' 40-man roster, is batting .283 with six home runs, nine doubles, 23 RBI and 24 runs scored in 56 games for the 51s. Navarro, who was up briefly with the big league club last month but saw no action, was acquired from the Diamondbacks on Jan. 11. In 20 games since returning to Las Vegas on May 31, he's hitting .342 (25-for-73) with four homers, five doubles and 12 RBI.

MATT AT THE BAT-- In Vero Beach's 16-0 romp vs. Jupiter last Friday night, center fielder Matt Kemp knocked in seven runs, all in the first three innings. The right-handed batter hit a two-run double in the first inning, a two-run homer in a six-run second and a three-run homer in a five-run third. Kemp reached base safely two other times in the contest on a pair of walks.

SUNS ON THE OFFENSIVE-- Manager John Shoemaker's Jacksonville Suns (41-35) won the Southern League's South Division first-half championship and one of the big reasons for their success this season has been their highly productive offense. The Suns mustered 17 hits in yesterday's 12-5 victory at Huntsville, giving them five consecutive games with double figures in hits. Jacksonville is leading the Southern League in team batting average (.283), runs scored (410, for an average of 5.4 per game), hits (737), home runs (75) and walks (296). Four Suns' players (Tydus Meadows, Delwyn Young, Russell Martin and Jon Weber) have been named Southern League Hitter of the Week so far this season after having no honorees in 2004.

ALVAREZ, KUO ELEVATED-- A pair of left-handed pitchers were promoted to Jacksonville last week, Carlos Alvarez from Single-A Columbus and Hong-Chih Kuo from Vero Beach. Alvarez, a Venezuela native, had made 20 relief appearances for the Catfish and posted a 0.93 ERA, striking out 63 batters in 38.2 innings and limiting opponents to a .176 batting average. He pitched a perfect inning in his Double-A debut on Saturday night. Kuo became the first Taiwanese high school player to ink a professional contract when he signed with the Dodgers in 1999. Prior to this season, however, he was limited to just 18 games in five years due to arm problems, resulting in two Tommy John surgeries. In 11 games for Vero Beach this season, he was 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA, striking out 42 batters in 26.0 innings and closing out his stay in the Florida State League with 16.0 consecutive scoreless innings. In his Suns' debut yesterday, he extended his scoreless innings streak to 18.0 by tossing 2.0 shutout innings and recording six strikeouts. He achieved a baseball rarity by striking out four batters in one inning, as one of his strikeout victims in that frame reached first on a wild pitch.

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