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Theriot helps native state with golf tournament

Theriot helps native state with golf tournament

LOS ANGELES -- Next month, the Dodgers must decide whether to tender a contract to Ryan Theriot and he knows it's no slam dunk. But this week, Theriot's focus is not on baseball.

Instead, the Dodgers second baseman is holding a celebrity golf tournament Friday in his native Louisiana to raise funds and awareness for the recovery from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as well as for the fight against autism.

Theriot, an LSU alum, will donate money to the National Wildlife Federation: Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund, the Autism Society of America Baton Rouge and the Fore! Kids Foundation, which exposes children to the game of golf. The tournament will be held at the Carter Plantation in Springfield, La.

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He's even got a website for more information: www.ryantheriot.com.

Among the participants: Mike Fontenot of the world champion San Francisco Giants, Theriot's double-play partner from LSU; Tampa Bay Rays infielder Reid Brignac; former MLB players Will Clark, Todd Walker and Paul Bako; former University of Louisiana at Lafayette star Jonathan Lucroy; former LSU football star Josh Reed; and rapper Paul Wall.

New Orleans native and radio celebrity Gordy Rush will serve as master of ceremonies. Country music star and Lafayette resident Sammy Kershaw will perform at the banquet, and there will be a silent auction featuring sports memorabilia. In July, while he was a member of the Chicago Cubs, Baton Rouge native Theriot organized a "Mystery Autographed Ball" event at Wrigley Field that raised $22,000 for NWF's Gulf Restoration Fund.

"I'm really excited," Theriot said Monday. "We're doing good things for three worthy groups."

As for the 2011 season, Theriot remains optimistic despite his offensive fade as the 2010 season ended. Theriot was hitting .284 when he was dealt Aug. 31 by the Cubs to the Dodgers with Ted Lilly for Blake DeWitt and Minor League pitchers Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach.

Theriot committed only one fielding error while with the Dodgers and hit .309 in August, but tailed off offensively in September, when he hit .141. He didn't have an extra-base hit after Aug. 26, but he led the club in runs scored from the time he arrived.

"Numbers-wise I didn't feel I was where I want to be," said Theriot, who will be 31 next month. "I can get better, and from a team standpoint, it was disappointing watching other teams in October because we were capable of doing just that."

Theriot lost an arbitration hearing last year with the Cubs, receiving the team offer of $2.6 million and not the $3.4 million he was seeking. Arbitration-eligible again this year, Theriot figures to be looking for something close to $4 million, which makes him a threatened non-tender candidate. The top Minor League candidate at the position is Ivan DeJesus Jr., but there is no obvious in-house choice to step in if Theriot is cut loose.

"I don't know the situation. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be there," he said. "Last year, arbitration, that stunk. It's not very fun. I want to play ball. Actually, I just want to win. That's why I want to be in L.A. I know the talent on this team can win. Even with a lot of stuff going on this year, it reminds me when we turned it around with the Cubs [in 2008].

"And Donnie [Mattingly, the new manager] is incredible. I'm excited to play for him. I hope I'll be there. I hope it will work out and I think it will."

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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