Notes: Houlton's second start

Notes: Sunday Houlton's second go

LOS ANGELES -- D.J. Houlton gets his second Major League start Sunday against the Twins.

Houlton was chosen over fellow rookie Derek Thompson, who will give manager Jim Tracy a second left-hander in the bullpen to go with Kelly Wunsch.

"He deserves it," Tracy said of Houlton. "They both deserve it. After what we saw of him [June 4], it's wise to get him out there and see where he's at. This [Twins] lineup has a more right-handed flavor, even with the lefties in there, and it fits his repertoire of pitches."

Houlton made his first Major League start last Saturday against Milwaukee, allowing one run on four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He will be pitching on seven days' rest.

Tracy said Thompson would be used in long relief situations similar to the ones Houlton handled in the two months leading up to his first start.

That will be something new for Thompson, whose only professional relief appearance came in last year's Double-A All-Star Game, when he allowed a home run.

"That one didn't go too well," Thompson said. "I can warm up pretty quick, but it's the mentality of a reliever. I've got no experience doing it. I know the routine to being a starter. I've never pitched back-to-back days or anything like that. I don't know how well my arm will bounce back."

Thompson missed the 2003 season with surgery to repair a partial ligament tear, but he said his arm required significant treatment between starts even before the injury.

"After a start, I'm real sore and I'm OK for my bullpen [between starts], really sore after that. Then I recuperate by the fifth day and I'm ready to go for my next start," he said.

Thompson figures to be the first reliever Sunday if Houlton encounters early trouble.

Injury update: Disabled outfielder Milton Bradley was able to play long-toss in the outfield, but pain in his injured ring finger still prevents him from swinging a bat without letting go. He will continue therapy for another week before trying again, and is likely to remain in Los Angeles when the club travels to Kansas City.

Disabled pitcher Odalis Perez threw a bullpen session and said he felt better than any time since he was sidelined May 15. He will throw again Sunday, after which it will be decided whether he goes for a Minor League rehabilitation stint.

Disabled catcher Wilson Alvarez received a cortisone injection in his shoulder and could begin throwing within a couple of days.

Disabled pitcher Elmer Dessens will make the third start of his Minor League rehabilitation assignment Sunday, and could be activated when the club travels to Kansas City for a series that begins Tuesday.

Disabled catcher Paul Bako batted for the first time and ran for the third consecutive day. He has not tried squatting yet, but believes he could return by next weekend. He is eligible to be activated Saturday.

Disabled outfielder Ricky Ledee continues his improvement from a sore and stiff hamstring, and Tracy said Ledee likely would be activated when he is eligible June 20.

WIN softball clinic on Saturday: The Dodgers are hosting the first Women's Initiative and Network (WIN) event of the season, the All Girls Softball Clinic, on Saturday. The clinic will feature an appearance by vice chairman Jamie McCourt, as well as Dodgers Eric Gagne, Oscar Robles and Manny Mota, National Pro Fastpitch players and Luchy Guerra, the Dodgers' assistant director of player development.

WIN is a new program in baseball focused on providing women of all ages and background with unique opportunities to learn about the sport, participate in the unparalleled Dodger Stadium experience, and contribute to our community and our national pastime in innovative and meaningful ways.  

WIN offers women special access to the game experience through events and ongoing programs including clinics, seminars, and forums involving Dodgers players, coaches and staff. WIN takes an active role in promoting community involvement and educational programs, and gives women invaluable professional and social networking opportunities.

Hochevar Clemens finalist: University of Tennessee's Luke Hochevar, the Dodgers' top draft pick earlier this week, is one of three finalists for the Roger Clemens Award, which honors the best pitcher in college baseball.

The other two finalists are Lance Broadway of TCU and Cesar Carillo of Miami (FL). The winner will be announced July 14.

Hollywood Stars on Saturday: Rob Schneider, Jimmy Kimmel and Molly Sims are among the celebrities taking the field in the Los Angeles Dodgers' annual Hollywood Stars Game presented by Yahoo! set for this Saturday at 5:15 p.m. PT.

In the 47th edition of the celebrity contest, the stars will compete in a softball game, with an auxiliary outfield fence to offer greater opportunity for home runs.  Moreover, fans are invited to sit on Dodger Stadium's outfield grass and warning track to get a better glimpse of their favorite Hollywood luminaries.

Coming up: Derek Lowe gets the start Saturday night. He bounced back from his stool-throwing loss to the Cubs to pitch eight strong innings against his hometown Tigers in his last start, allowing only five base hits and keeping the ball in the park. He has a 5.24 career ERA against the Twins, who will counter with Carlos Silva.

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