So Long Caleb Dirks, Hello Bud Norris

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(Photo Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

In light of losing ace Clayton Kershaw to the disabled list with a herniated disc in his lower back, the Dodgers announced on Thursday the acquisition of pitcher Bud Norris, minor league outfielder Dian Toscano, a player to be named later and cash from the Braves in exchange for minor league pitchers Caleb Dirks and Phil Pfeifer.

To make room for Norris on the 40-man roster, Los Angeles designated pitcher Ian Thomas for assignment.

In eight Major League seasons with the Astros, Orioles, Padres and Braves, Norris has gone 59-75 with a 4.43 ERA in 218 appearances after initially being chosen by Houston in the sixth round of the 2006 MLB Draft.

The 31-year-old right-hander has posted a 3-7 record with a 4.22 ERA in 10 starts over 22 games and 70 innings this season, including a 2.08 ERA in his last 17 appearances combined as a reliever and a starter. In the month of June, he was 2-1 in six games for Atlanta and ranked among the league’s best pitchers with a 2.08 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP and a .194 opponents’ batting average.

Toscano, 27, hit .226 with 10 RBI in 58 games with Double-A Mississippi this year after playing five seasons in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, where he batted .299 with 13 home runs and 101 RBI in 261 games with Villa Clara. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound, left-handed hitter was originally signed by Atlanta as an international free agent in January of 2015.

Dirks was 3-2 with six saves and a 1.44 ERA in 28 relief appearances with Double-A Tulsa this year, his second season in the Dodger organization. Last year for High-A Rancho Cucamonga, the 23-year-old appeared in 10 innings over nine games, recording a 0.90 ERA and a .998 WHIP while ringing up 18 strikeouts and allowing just one earned run. He closed out the season by posting a 1.35 ERA, a .975 WHIP, and fanning 17 batters in just under 14 innings of work for the Drillers.

The Dodgers originally acquired Dirks along with Jordan Paroubeck from the Braves in July of last year in exchange for the club’s 87th international bonus pool slot. Dirks’ close friend and collegiate teammate, Trevor Oaks, was chosen by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2014 draft and is a prominent member of the Oklahoma City starting rotation. TBPC ranked Dirks as the fourth best reliever in the system earlier in June, and put together a thorough profile for the righty back in March.

Pfeifer posted a 3-1 combined record with a 2.67 ERA in 17 relief appearances with Low-A Great Lakes and High-A Rancho this year, his second professional season. The 23-year-old southpaw was chosen by the Dodgers in the third round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Vanderbilt University.

Norris will temporarily slot into Kershaw’s spot in the rotation, taking the hill when the Dodgers open a three-game series at home against the Rockies on Friday. First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. local time.

 

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