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DODGERS FYI

Kershaw is sent back to minors

July 03, 2008|Kevin Baxter | Times Staff Writer

HOUSTON -- The Dodgers sent prize rookie Clayton Kershaw back to double-A Jacksonville on Wednesday, a move that deflated and surprised the precocious 20-year-old.

"It's disappointing," said Kershaw, who was winless in eight starts, going 0-2 with a 4.42 earned-run average and 33 strikeouts in 38 2/3 innings. "I didn't expect it. But it's part of the business."

Kershaw, a native Texan, had met with his agent earlier Wednesday and filled out a ticket request for friends just minutes before Manager Joe Torre summoned him into his office to give him the bad news.

"It wasn't an easy decision to make," Torre said. "I certainly feel he's getting better."

The Dodgers needed Kershaw's roster spot for right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, who came off the disabled list to start Wednesday's game. And with Brad Penny expected back Saturday, they'll have to make another move soon.

With Kershaw gone, Torre expects to return to a five-man rotation of Kuroda, Chad Billingsley, Derek Lowe, Penny and left-hander Eric Stults.

"Right now, I'm just disappointed," said Kershaw, who was in line for his first win Tuesday before his bullpen blew a lead. "Any time you get sent down it's not what you want."

Rehab redux

Nomar Garciaparra and Andruw Jones started for the third consecutive game at triple-A Las Vegas, with Garciaparra, the designated hitter, collecting three singles and an RBI in three at-bats while Jones, who started in center, was hitless in two at-bats before leaving, as scheduled, after five innings.

Right-hander Jason Schmidt, who hasn't pitched in the majors in 13 months, is scheduled to start for Las Vegas tonight.

Closing in on No. 1

Logan White, the assistant general manager for scouting, said the team and first-round draft pick Ethan Martin, a high school pitcher from Toccoa, Ga., are closing in on an agreement.

"We're making progress," he said. "Trust me, it [isn't] going to be a problem."

White did not reveal the team's bonus offer or Martin's asking price, but the 15th pick in last year's draft, catcher Devin Mesoraco, got $1.4 million from Cincinnati and the player chosen ahead of Martin this June, outfielder Aaron Hicks of Long Beach Wilson, got a $1.78-million bonus from Minnesota.

The Dodgers are less optimistic about the possibility of signing 11th-round pick Nathan Eovaldi, a right-hander from Alvin, Texas.

Eovaldi is committed to begin classes at Texas Tech in the fall.

Howell on the mend

Bullpen coach Ken Howell, who left the team last Friday because of what the Dodgers called an infection related to his diabetes, underwent a successful amputation of part of the third toe on his right foot Tuesday at County-USC Medical Center. He could be discharged today or Friday, but there is no timetable for his return to the team.

--

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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