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Clayton Kershaw back in the Dodgers' rotation, Hiroki Kuroda done for the season

September 29, 2010 | 11:42 am

Clayton Kershaw was pitching, then he wasn’t. Now, he’s pitching again.

Kershaw was scratched from his scheduled start on Wednesday and shut down for the season after the Dodgers eliminated the Colorado Rockies from postseason contention on Tuesday night. But with Hiroki Kuroda telling Manager Joe Torre that reaching the 200-innings plateau wasn’t enough of a reason to pitch in the season finale on Sunday, the Dodgers suddenly had an opening in their rotation.

In came Kershaw.

The 22-year-old left-hander, who has pitched a career-high 204 1/3 innings, is now scheduled to start the opening game of the Dodgers’ three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium, which is on Friday.

Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly, who were initially scheduled to pitch on Friday and Saturday, respectively, have both been pushed back a day.

“They came up and asked me,” Kershaw said. “I said, ‘Sure.’”

Of the mental strain resulting from the events of the last 12 hours, Kershaw said, “I have to be mentally tough and get through it.”

Kuroda said he always thought his start on Tuesday would be his last of the season. While he started the season with a goal of pitching 200 innings and thought it was nice of Torre to offer him the chance to pursue the mark, he said he didn’t seriously consider pitching again.

“I had been told at the start of September that my last start would be in Colorado, so I mentally shut down after that,” Kuroda said.

-- Dylan Hernandez in Denver