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Kershaw's labors aren't fruitful

June 05, 2008|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

Clayton Kershaw received his first major league decision in his third start, as the 20-year-old left-hander was saddled with the loss in the Dodgers' 2-1 defeat to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.

He threw 104 pitches over five laborious innings, giving up two runs, five hits and four walks. He struck out five.

"If you're ahead of hitters, 100 pitches should get you seven innings, maybe even eight," Kershaw said. "I lasted five today. Obviously, there's a lot of room for improvement."

Both Rockies runs came in the second inning, when Jeff Baker fouled off four pitches with two strikes and crushed a two-run home run to left. The Dodgers trailed, 2-0, but didn't fall back any farther, as the Rockies were 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position against the hard-throwing Kershaw.

The Dodgers have the option of using their off day Monday to skip Kershaw's next turn in the rotation, but Manager Joe Torre said his No. 5 starter would take the mound Tuesday in San Diego.

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said the organization remained conscious of Kershaw's workload, but that the plan of limiting him to 25 innings a month applied only in the minors.

"Each outing's going to determine the next plan going forward," Honeycutt said.

Honeycutt said he didn't view the off day as a chance to skip Kershaw, but as a chance to start him with an extra day of rest. The move will allow Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda to also pitch on five days' rest.

The Dodgers want to limit Kershaw to 170 innings this season. Honeycutt said Kershaw could make up to 21 more starts, which, at about of six innings per start, could add up to somewhere around 120 innings. He has already pitched 58 innings this season, including 43 1/3 in double A.


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