LeBron James is not the only local athlete in the business of building schools. On the day the Lakers star opened his school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw said his foundation already has broken ground on a school in Zambia.
Kershaw’s Challenge already has built two homes there, in which 17 children who were abused, neglected or malnourished can eat, sleep and learn safely. Kershaw said those children — and another 150 or so who are provided with food but not housing — are sent to three different schools.
“It was just a logical next step to have somewhere for these kids to go that is fully funded and has a great education,” he said.
The school — to be called Arise Christian School — will allow the foundation to offer all of its services on one campus. Fundraising for the school is in its second and final year, Kershaw said.
“There’s a lot of factors,” he said. “It’s not as easy as signing up and taking roll.”
Kershaw said he never has met James but would welcome the chance to work with him on educational projects.
“What he’s been doing in Akron is awesome,” Kershaw said. “It’s really cool.”
The Dodgers remain focused on pitching, primarily relief pitching, as Tuesday’s 1 p.m. PDT trade deadline approaches. The team believes it has an ample supply of arms and would be reluctant to add a pitcher unless he would be a substantial upgrade — from, say, the injured Josh Fields, who has a 2.36 earned-run average.
There is no shortage of available relievers, in part because nine of the 15 American League teams are essentially out of postseason contention. Last year, the Dodgers fortified their bullpen by obtaining the relatively anonymous Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson on July 31.
“If there is an opportunity for something like that,” manager Dave Roberts said, “I know we will be on it.”
Stripling to DL
On the day after his latest rough start, All-Star Ross Stripling was put on the disabled list because of what the Dodgers called “right first toe inflammation.”
The Dodgers had been monitoring the workload of Stripling, whose 104 innings are within 24 of his professional high. He gave up consecutive home runs in the All-Star game and four home runs in his two starts since then, covering 8 2/3 innings. In his first seven starts this season, covering 38 innings, he gave up three home runs.
Roberts said he had no idea whether the toe condition had affected Stripling’s performance.
“It might have,” Roberts said. “Ross would never say it has. I can’t really speak to that.
“All I know is there is an opportunity to address it and go back to an eight-man pen and re-set him.”
The Dodgers replaced Stripling on the roster by recalling reliever Dylan Floro, returning to a five-man rotation for the moment.
Atlanta Braves broadcaster Joe Simpson apologized for his criticism of the batting practice attire worn by Chase Utley in particular and the Dodgers in general. “I apologize to Chase Utley, the entire Dodgers organization and their fans for comments I made during Saturday’s broadcast,” Simpson said. “I’ve always held the organization in the highest light and my comments certainly didn’t reflect that.” … Roberts said it was too soon to say third baseman Justin Turner (groin) would be activated when eligible Thursday. … Outfielder Yusniel Diaz, the top prospect traded in the Manny Machado deal, has three hits in his first 27 at-bats for the Baltimore Orioles’ double-A Bowie (Md.) farm team. … Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett visited with Dodgers players and coaches during batting practice.
Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin