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07/19/10 7:58 PM ET

Lincecum offers Kershaw measuring stick

Dodgers manager Joe Torre isn't quite ready to call to Clayton Kershaw an ace, but he admits the young left-hander is getting pretty close.

After all, Kershaw, 22, has a career 3.30 ERA and is 9-5 with a 3.16 ERA with 129 strikeouts in 116 2/3 innings this season.

But he's also been inconsistent at times, like his last start on Thursday, when he pitched on seven days' rest and allowed four runs over 4 1/3 innings in a 7-1 loss to the Cardinals.

"He's getting better, he's going to get better, there's room to get better," Torre said. "How much better is he going to be? He's got a high ceiling. Not only his stuff, but his makeup. You've seen so many pitchers with stuff, but they get to a certain point and stop. This kid's not going to stop. Unless, God forbid, he has an injury. He constantly wants to get better."

Kershaw will be facing a tall task on Tuesday when he goes up against Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum, who is 10-4 with a 2.94 ERA this season. And unlike with Kershaw, Torre openly calls the 26-year-old Lincecum an ace, considering he's won the last two National League Cy Young Awards.

"Lincecum's won a couple of Cy Youngs, you have to put him in a different class even though age-wise it's not that big of a differential," Torre said. "But still it's experience."

Kershaw will also be faced with halting the Dodgers' five-game losing streak since the All-Star break, including their 5-2 loss to the Giants on Monday.

"We control our own fate," Torre said. "It's all going to come down to our division, and as dark as it seems now, you put about three or four wins together and all of a sudden the whole environment changes. We need to obviously get back for our own confidence and win ballgames. I don't think within the next week or two weeks are going to tell you what kind of team we have because there's a lot more time to go."

Giants: Versatile Velez gets recalled
The Giants recalled utility man Eugenio Velez from Triple-A Fresno on Monday and optioned right-hander Joe Martinez to Triple-A. The Giants also considered recalling Ryan Rohlinger, who's batting .317 in 40 games in Triple-A, but opted for Velez because of his versatility defensively. "Right now Velez is a little better fit than Rohlinger," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Dodgers: Manny getting MRI on calf
Manny Ramirez was not in the Dodgers' lineup on Monday and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his right calf on Tuesday to determine whether a trip to the disabled list is necessary. "He felt a little better," Torre said. "He feels it when he's out there running. He was out there earlier today. We're just going to take another look, so today he continues to be unavailable for us."

Worth noting
Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake is 0-for-10 with a sacrifice bunt against Linceum. "He's tough, obviously deceptive," Blake said. "I think I had a sacrifice bunt off him once." ... Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton was unavailable Monday night and may not be available Tuesday night after throwing 44 pitches and working in two innings in his third blown save and first loss of the season Sunday in St. Louis.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.