Kershaw is in, LaRoche May be Out

Clayton Kershaw, after three sparkling starts for Jacksonville, has been recalled and will start tonight against Colorado. At the same time, third baseman Andy LaRoche may be in the trade spotlight as the Dodgers search for an upgrade and short or third, perhaps both, before the trade deadline on July 31.

Left-hander Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers' #1 pitching prospect, will start at Colorado tonight. He was promoted from Jacksonville for the second time this season and the move could be permanent.

"Our mind was made up on Kershaw before Johnson was called up on Friday," Torre said. "I told Jason Johnson, `Right now, you're listed as the starter for tonight, but that could change."'

Kershaw, 20, was promoted for the first time on May 24 and wound up making eight starts in the majors, going 0-2 with a 4.42 ERA while walking 24 batters in 38.2 innings. He was sent back to Jacksonville on July 2. In three subsequent starts for the Suns, he is 2-0, having allowed two earned runs in 18 innings with just two walks.

This time, it seems Kershaw will in Los Angeles the rest of the season. "I think so," Torre said. "That's in my mind, but if something out there changes your mind, it changes your mind."

That means that a roster move will be announced today, and it will involve a pitcher. Torre intimated it won't be Johnson, who he says will pitch in long relief. That could mean either Brian Falkenborg or Ramon Troncoso is headed back to Triple-A Las Vegas.

LaRoche Showcased?
It wasn't spoken, but the Dodgers are apparently going to give Andy LaRoche a three-game trial, perhaps his last, before they make some sort of a deal before the trading deadline.

Torre said, "I had planned on giving him a couple of games. It has really been unfair to him. Knowing that the end of July is looming, you have to find out as much as you can about your players.

"If you're looking to help your ballclub, you want to make sure you have an idea of the people you have. He'll probably play this series, especially facing left-hander Glendon Rusch Wednesday."

LaRoche, who apparently lost his rabbit's foot early in spring training and has never located it, hasn't been given anything approaching a real shot at a regular position.

He's one of those hitters who draw a lot of walks and some managers are not so interested in that. But many fans have wondered why LaRoche was not being used when Luis Maza and Angel Berroa's average has hovered well below the .200 mark.

?Andy walked each of his first two times in the game last night, the first time after falling behind 1-2, and he looped a 3-2 pitch into right field for an RBI single and give the Dodgers a 12-1 lead.

But Torre said that Colletti, "has some irons in the fire." Colletti said he was looking for a shortstop to replace the injured Rafael Furcal, but has since then expanded his search to include a third basemen.

Rumors include Cleveland's Casey Blake and old friend Adrian Beltré of Seattle. A trade would have to include a younger third baseman, like LaRoche, but with Blake DeWitt locked in a seven-week slump (hitting .195 since May 31), LaRoche could also win the starting job.

LaRoche hasn't been told as much, but the handwriting on the lineup card is clear: this is one final tryout, and perhaps his last chance, to impress the right people.

Pierre Close
Left fielder Juan Pierre, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 30 with a sprained ligament in his left knee, could be ready to begin a minor-league rehabilitation assignment with Las Vegas, putting Pierre in position to rejoin the club early next week.

Pierre will probably share time in left field with Andre Ethier, although Ethier has been an important cog in the Dodgers' offense for some weeks.

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