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Alvarez May Get Chance to Start

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Times Staff Writer

Wilson Alvarez could become the Dodgers’ fifth starter after the All-Star break if he continues to outperform Andy Ashby in auditions to fill the void created by the loss of Darren Dreifort for the season.

Jim Tracy has committed to using Ashby as the starter for three more games through July 5, with Alvarez scheduled to relieve him as needed, but the Dodger manager acknowledged Sunday that “we are in a business here where we need results. So we’ll see who gives us the best results.

“If we get into a stretch [after the All-Star break] where we’re going to need that fifth starter four or five times in a row, we’ll have a pretty doggone good idea who that should be.”

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Ashby (0-4) provided three serviceable innings Saturday against the Chicago White Sox, giving up two runs while throwing 56 pitches. Alvarez, making his season debut after going 5-1 as a starter for triple-A Las Vegas, was strong for five innings with the exception of two solo home runs.

Tracy said Ashby, attempting to rebuild stamina after being moved to the bullpen before the season, could throw around 80 pitches Saturday against the Cleveland Indians, which means he could reach the seventh inning if he is pitching effectively.

“I’ve seen Andy Ashby be in the seventh and eighth innings with 80 pitches before,” Tracy said. “He’s capable of that.”

Alvarez might pitch a few innings during the Dodgers’ midweek series against Detroit, as Tracy said he would use the left-hander “in whatever capacity helps the Dodgers win a game.”

Alvarez said he is willing to fill in wherever needed. “I think I deserve a chance to start,” he said, “[but] it’s up to them what they want to do.”

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David Ross had two hits off Chicago starter Esteban Loaiza on Sunday without moving the ball out of the infield, raising his average from .188 to .250. The reserve catcher, who has started five games this year, recorded the third multi-hit game of his career.

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“Playing once a week, you get up there and everybody looks like Nolan Ryan just about,” he said. “You have to get up there and battle and try to get your notch when you can.”

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Paul Lo Duca’s inside-the-park home run was the first by a Dodger at home since Steve Sax hit one May 2, 1988 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lo Duca started the game in left field to give Brian Jordan the day off.... Paul Quantrill, who pitched a perfect eighth, has retired 18 consecutive batters over his last seven appearances.

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