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Notes: Alvarez gets one more start

Notes: Alvarez gets one more start

LOS ANGELES -- After being roughed up again Monday night, Wilson Alvarez said he didn't deserve another start, but manager Jim Tracy disagreed.

Tracy said Alvarez will start again Saturday against Milwaukee before a scheduled day off Thursday -- and possibly the return of Odalis Perez -- will allow Alvarez to return to the bullpen.

"I think he's plenty capable of getting it done, rather than expose a young kid [rookie D.J. Houlton] at this time," said Tracy.

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Tracy said he believes Alvarez -- who returned last month after five weeks on the disabled list with a sore shoulder -- is healthy, because he's heard nothing to the contrary, although Alvarez made two starts last year before acknowledging he was suffering from a strained hip.

"It's not fair to equate a couple of rough starts with saying he's hurt," said Tracy. "He hasn't said anything and the trainers haven't told me anything. He mislocated pitches."

Not that he has many other attractive options, but Tracy will be counting on a 35-year-old left-hander who has allowed five home runs and 11 runs in eight innings over two losing starts against San Francisco and the Cubs.

Ironically, Tracy has been unyielding in comments that Alvarez is not durable enough to take regular turns a starting rotation.

Tracy passed on Houlton, who pitched one scoreless inning Monday night, and veteran Scott Erickson, who pitched two scoreless innings Monday night. Houlton is being carried as a Rule 5 Draft investment, while Tracy believes Erickson can be best utilized as a long reliever.

Tracy also confirmed that Derek Thompson, who made an impressive debut Saturday night in Arizona, will start again Thursday night.

Bradley's MRI results: Milton Bradley got the results of his latest MRI. They showed that the outfielder suffered a slight tear of the ligament in his right ring finger that holds the flexor tendon in place. Tracy said the finger would be put in a brace for three days, when it is hoped Bradley will be able to swing a bat.

"If he can't, obviously, we have something else we'll likely take a look at," Tracy said, adding that surgery has not been discussed.

"It's not major," Tracy said. "It's his comfort level and his ability to grip a bat and swing it, that's the main issue."

Rose arrives: In his 11th professional season, after playing in 12 Minor League cities, catcher Mike Rose started his first Major League game Tuesday night.

"You get to the point where you've invested so much time, there's no turning back," Rose said, explaining why he hadn't given up the dream. "I always knew I could play here. I never doubted myself. There's a drive inside me to prove people wrong and prove myself."

Rose finally reached the Major Leagues last year in a September callup with Oakland, where he had been acquired by former assistant general manager Paul DePodesta, his current boss. He had two at-bats last year, both strikeouts.

Two weeks after being told by the A's over the winter that they might not have room for him, Rose was contacted by DePodesta about a non-roster spot with the Dodgers, and he took it.

"In this game, it's hard to find people you can trust," he said, counting DePodesta as one.

Despite the acquisition of touted prospect Dioner Navarro, Rose has had more of the playing time behind the plate at Triple-A Las Vegas this year, and he's out-hit Navarro by more than 50 points. Rose got the start Tuesday night, in part because of his familiarity catching starting pitcher Brad Penny in an injury rehabilitation start in Las Vegas last month.

When Paul Bako was injured last week, Navarro got the initial call, because he already was on the 40-man roster. But management decided Navarro would be better served playing every day at Triple-A, and Rose would be a better fit with the Major League pitching staff because of his journeyman experience. Rose is also better suited to sit if Jason Phillips continues to get the bulk of playing time.

"I was a little surprised, but I'm ready," Rose said. "I've waited a long time, almost a decade in the Minor Leagues. It's the same game, really."

Elmer Dessens, disabled since April 20 with shoulder problems, threw a two-inning simulated game with no problems, and expects to begin an injury rehabilitation assignment with Las Vegas later this week.

"My arm felt very strong and I had better command," said Dessens. "Saturday, I felt looser and the ball was moving around. Today, I had more control, more like pitching. I think the injury is over."

Dessens said he would probably make several rehab appearances before being activated.

Shopping spree: Dodgers Pitchers Eric Gagne and Giovanni Carrara, shortstop Cesar Izturis and catcher Jason Phillips will participate in a three-minute grocery shopping spree to help benefit the L.A. Regional Food Bank and promote National Hunger Awareness Day Wednesday at 1 p.m. PT at the Albertson's at 6240 Foothill Blvd., Tujunga. The Dodgers Dream Foundation will match the players' register total with a cash donation to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

This marks the third year that the Dodgers and Albertsons have partnered with the L.A. Regional Food Bank to draw attention to National Hunger Awareness Day, which is June 7. From last year's shopping spree, the Dodgers donated more than $15,000 to the Food Bank.

Coming up: Derek Lowe has never faced the Cubs, his opponent Wednesday night. But he'll be pitching at Dodger Stadium, and he's become pretty comfortable there. He is 4-1 with a 2.52 ERA in five home starts this year, four of them quality starts.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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