LOS ANGELES -- With an eye toward preserving the talented left arm of rookie phenom Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Los Angeles would "probably" skip Kershaw when off-days allow the team to do so. The Dodgers can skip him next week, with Kershaw's day to pitch, Monday, falling on an off-day. Management rationed Kershaw to no more than 25 innings per month while at Double-A Jacksonville to save his arm for a pennant push with the Dodgers. He's thrown 9 2/3 innings in his first two starts with Los Angeles.
During the weeks he's skipped, Torre said that Kershaw would be available out of the bullpen, but that the team would not go out of its way to use him, because he can get enough throwing in without entering a game. "Whatever, pitching's pitching," Kershaw said. "I got to throw out of the bullpen in Spring Training a little bit, I did it in the Minor Leagues a few times, so I'd be comfortable with it. "Mr. Torre will know what's best. Whatever he wants is what I'll do." Torre does not expect missing a start would make Kershaw "stale." The manager has experience dealing with a prized young prospect -- although not a starter -- with the the Yankees, his former team, putting rules on how Torre could use Joba Chamberlain last season. Torre said that Kershaw would warm up once, and if he's used, he's used, and if he's not used, then so be it. "So it's going to be like being a starter, except he'll pitch an inning or two and that will be it," Torre said. "It will be like we used Chamberlain last year with the Yankees, same situation. I mean, not as a setup man but the same warmup schedule and stuff." Kershaw is used to such restrictions, after throwing 43 1/3 innings in nearly two months at Double-A Jacksonville before his promotion on May 24, never reaching the seven-inning mark, and with four of his 10 appearances being for less than four innings. "It's not tough, because when they're trying to take care of you, you really can't argue with that," Kershaw said. "That's their decision and they probably know what's best."
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.