Loiaza, Brazoban Make Room For Kershaw

The Dodgers waited as long as they dared, then sent the call to Jacksonville for their prize prospect, 20-year-old Clayton Kershaw. He will start today (Sunday) in the final game of the St. Louis series. Kershaw was 0-3 with a 2.28 ERA, 47 strikeouts, 15 walks and 32 hits allowed in 43.1 innings with the Suns and had an unusual pitching schedule was designed to preserve his arm.

It had become apparent that there would be no pennant run without additional starting pitching, however, one should understand that while the kid is vastly talented, Clayton Kershaw isn't Sandy Koufax yet, and needs run support to be successful. He was winless with the Suns for that very reason.

To make room for Kershaw on the 40-man Major League roster, the Dodgers activated Esteban Loaiza from the disabled list and designated him for assignment and to fit Clayton onto the 25-man active roster, reliever Yhency Brazoban was optioned back to Las Vegas.

Chad Billingsley, who has back-to-back seven-inning starts, and Hiroki Kuroda, who pitched eight innings in his last start, will gain an extra day of rest, pitching next in the Cub series in Chicago. The Dodgers thought it best that Kershaw debut at home rather than at Wrigley Field.

Kershaw was moved to the Major League camp March 9, so manager Joe Torre could see the young lefthander for himself. Kershaw impressed everyone when he allowed a home run to the first batter he faced in an exhibition game, shrugged it off and didn't allow another run in 14 innings, striking out 19 with three walks.

The clamor to keep him on the major league staff came from the fans and players alike, but he was sent to Jacksonville anyway, with a stipulation that he pitch no more than 25 innings a month to save his arm for a possible pennant-stretch role in Los Angeles.

Removing Loaiza from the picture effectively ends his brief and unhappy career as a Dodger. He was claimed off waivers from Oakland last August, having made only two starts after being disabled for four months following operations on his back and right knee.

The Dodgers assumed the remaining $1.2 million of his 2007 salary, a $6.5 million salary for 2008 and a $375,000 buyout of his 2008 salary of $7.5 million. So for some $8.3 million they received one win last year and one win this year.

The club will probably grant him his release. He had been disabled with stiffness in the shoulder blade and made one rehab appearance, but his velocity still hasn't returned from 2006.

Brazoban made only two appearances after being recalled May 9 to replace Loaiza, allowing two runs in three innings. He is on the rebound from shoulder and elbow operations the previous two seasons.