DENVER -- Top pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw will be recalled from double-A Jacksonville to start against the Colorado Rockies tonight and Manager Joe Torre said he expects the 20-year-old left-hander to remain in the majors for the rest of the season.
"It wasn't easy to send him out the last time because it looked like he was coming around a bit," Torre said.
Called up to the big leagues for the first time in his career May 24, Kershaw was 0-2 with a 4.42 earned-run average in eight starts. He was sent down July 2 and made three starts for Jacksonville, posting a 2-0 record and 1.00 ERA. The wins in double A were the first of the season for Kershaw at any level.
Recent triple-A call-up Jason Johnson, who was previously named by Torre as today's starter, will be used in long relief.
Torre said the decision to call up Kershaw was made before the Dodgers went into the All-Star break. The move would let Chan Ho Park be the Dodgers' setup man and backup closer, something he thought necessary when Takashi Saito was hurt.
Torre said he liked how Kershaw didn't sulk when he was sent down.
"It sounds like his off stuff is better," Torre said.
Penny and Pierre close to returning
Left fielder Juan Pierre and opening-day starter Brad Penny could be sent on minor league rehabilitation assignments this week.
Pierre, who suffered a sprained ligament in his left knee three weeks ago and was expected to be out six weeks, could be with triple-A Las Vegas before the Dodgers start their next homestand Friday. The assignment could be anywhere from a game to three games, Torre said.
Penny, who hasn't pitched since June 14 because of shoulder problems, will throw a bullpen session today and is tentatively scheduled to pitch in a minor league game this weekend. Torre anticipated that Penny would probably have to pitch twice in the minors and could be back in the rotation in early August.
High praise for Martin
Rockies Manager Clint Hurdle, who managed the National League in the All-Star game last week, said he has a newfound respect for Dodgers catcher Russell Martin.
"As much as I respected him as a player watching him from the other dugout, I respect him more now," Hurdle said.
"It's just the package. He has some youthful enthusiasm. He's got some big-time game face. He loves to play."
Martin caught 10 innings of that game, with Hurdle replacing him with Brian McCann in the bottom of the 15th inning.
"I didn't want to put the whip to him too much," Hurdle said. "He caught nine innings as it was. He caught a complete game. I figured that after that, I'm pushing my luck a little bit with Torre. I might get the fish eye from Joe when he shows up. Nobody wants that."
Torre said Andy LaRoche could start at third base for the entire series in Colorado, an indication that the Dodgers might be showcasing him for a potential trade. Though Torre said General Manager Ned Colletti had "irons in the fire," he claimed that he had to put LaRoche in the lineup out of fairness to the 24-year-old. "We've asked him to play off the bench, which is hard for a young player," Torre said. . . . Jason Schmidt didn't travel with the Dodgers to Colorado, heading to Los Angeles instead to get his shoulder examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. . . . Nomar Garciaparra was out of the lineup, even though he is nine for 21 with five runs batted in over his last five games. Torre said Garciaparra had aches from having played the entire series in Arizona.