Clayton Kershaw to pitch Wednesday for Chattanooga Lookouts

Clayton Kershaw to pitch Wednesday for Chattanooga Lookouts

April 29th, 2014 by David Paschall in Sports - Professional

In this Aug. 27, 2013, file photo, Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs in Los Angeles.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

The Chattanooga Lookouts have held their share of Bobblehead, Fireworks and Used Car nights the last several years at AT&T Field.

Wednesday will be the first $215 million pitcher night.

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Monday night that starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who has won two of the past three National League Cy Young awards, will make his second minor-league rehab appearance Wednesday night at AT&T Field when the Lookouts host the Tennessee Smokies.

The 26-year-old left-hander made his first rehab start last Friday with Rancho Cucamonga in the high Single-A California League, allowing just two hits while striking out six in five scoreless innings.

"This is a great opportunity for Chattanooga to see one of the great pitchers of our time," Lookouts general manager Rich Mozingo said. "It's going to be a wonderful night out at the ballpark."

Mozingo added that more than 3,000 tickets remain for Wednesday's game at the 6,340-seat facility.

The rehab stint by Kershaw will be the biggest the Lookouts have experienced in their 15-year-old park, topping a 2001 visit by former Atlanta Braves starter Kevin Millwood. Kershaw signed a seven-year, $215 million contract in January, and his $30.7 million annual salary became the highest in the history of the four major sports until it was surpassed last month when Detroit signed infielder Miguel Cabrera.

Kershaw was the winning pitcher on March 22, when the 2014 major league season opened with the Dodgers winning 3-1 over Arizona in Australia. He went on the disabled list for the first time in his career a week later due to a strained muscle in his left upper back.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder threw 56 pitches at Rancho Cucamonga and is projected to have a more extensive stint with Chattanooga before rejoining the Dodgers.

"His next start will be at the 75-80 pitch range," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters Sunday in Los Angeles.

Kershaw is a 2006 graduate of Highland Park High in Dallas, where he was a classmate of former Georgia and current Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. He was selected in the first round of the 2006 draft by the Dodgers, who had the seventh overall pick, and frequented Chattanooga as a member of the Jacksonville Suns in 2007 and 2008.

In seven big-league seasons, Kershaw is 78-46 with a 2.59 earned run average. His ERA is the lowest for a pitcher with 1,000 innings pitched and 100 starts since the start of the so-called live-ball era in 1920.

Since the start of the 2011 season, Kershaw is 52-23 with a 2.20 ERA. He has led the National League in ERA each of the past three seasons, the first to accomplish that feat since Atlanta's Greg Maddux from 1993 to '95.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.