Key stretch starts as Kershaw gets call

Key stretch starts as Kershaw gets call

DENVER -- Clayton Kershaw will be promoted to start Tuesday night's game against the Rockies, part of what could be a busy 10 days of Dodgers roster moves leading up to the Trade Deadline.

The 20-year-old Kershaw was promoted on May 24 from Double-A, went 0-2 with a 4.42 ERA in eight starts for the Dodgers and was returned to Double-A on July 2, going 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in three starts.

"He didn't wallow in his misery [after being demoted]," said Manager Joe Torre. "From our reports, his off-stuff has improved."

This time, said Torre, he expects Kershaw to stay in the starting rotation, perhaps for a decade or so if expert predications are accurate. When at full strength, the current rotation also would include Hiroki Kuroda, Chad Billingsley, Derek Lowe and Brad Penny, who might be ready to come off the disabled list in early August.

Penny, whose horse, Synnin and Grinnin, won Monday's seventh race at Del Mar, will have a bullpen session in Los Angeles Tuesday and a Minor League rehab start or simulated game over the weekend.

Torre said Kershaw's promotion was decided before the All-Star break, which will fuel speculation that it could pave the way for the trade of a pitcher. In a big deal, that could mean Lowe. He, like Penny, could be a free agent after this season. In a smaller deal, it could mean Eric Stults, who started Monday night and figures to get bumped by Penny if no starting pitcher is dealt.

Jason Johnson, promoted last week, had been the announced scheduled starter for Tuesday night, but Torre said Johnson was a place-holder. He said Johnson will assume Chan Ho Park's long-reliever role, with Park moving up to short relief as the setup man and backup closer for Jonathan Broxton with the injury to Takashi Saito.

Disabled pitcher Jason Schmidt returned to Los Angeles to have his ailing shoulder examined by surgeon Neil ElAttrache, who performed surgery on it 13 months ago.

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