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09/15/10 10:21 PM ET

Ethier downplays Red Sox rumor

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers All-Star outfielder Andre Ethier dismissed a report out of Boston that he'd like to join the Red Sox.

"It's obviously hearsay," said the Dodgers outfielder. "Especially at this point, it doesn't even make sense to comment on something like this."

According to an Internet report from Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, Ethier reportedly told friends he would like to come to the Red Sox. Ethier is a former college teammate and good friend of Boston's Dustin Pedroia, although there was no indication that Pedroia was involved in the report.

Ethier, 29, isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season. He is in the first year of a two-year contract that pays him $9.25 million next year and was having a Triple Crown season until breaking his finger.

Speculation has already started that the Dodgers will be active in the trade market, but limited in the free agency market, over the winter.

The Dodgers, however, need a middle-of-the-order hitter and it was not clear in the report how trading Ethier would square with that pressing need.

Torre impressed with Kershaw's development

SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre was asked if Clayton Kershaw's first career shutout Tuesday night was the highlight of the Dodgers' season.

"We haven't had too many," he said. "To me, that's the best game he's pitched since I've watched him pitch."

Torre said when Kershaw came in from pregame warmups in the bullpen, "he looked like he was on a mission, like a caged animal.

"For 22, he really has a lot going for him besides his age. You keep your fingers crossed that he stays healthy. When he arrived, we were all in awe at how hard he threw [and in awe of] the curveball. But that's taken a back seat to his pitching. Right now, he's a pitcher as opposed to throwing 96 [mph]. It's 91 to 93 but he knows where it's going."

Kershaw is tied for second in the league with 201 strikeouts, is fourth with a .217 opponents batting average and is tied for ninth with a 2.85 ERA.

He's also tied with Chad Billingsley (2008) for most strikeouts in a season by a Dodgers pitcher since Chan Ho Park had 218 in 2001.

As a staff, the Dodgers have 16 shutouts, the most since getting 17 in 2003. They have four pitchers (Kershaw, Billingsley, Vicente Padilla and Ted Lilly) with one shutout each this season. The last time at least four Dodgers did that in the same season was 1998.

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