By Jon Weisman
Right-handed pitcher Bud Norris has been acquired by the Dodgers from Atlanta and is expected start in place of Clayton Kershaw for Los Angeles on Friday.
The Dodgers also picked up left-handed hitting minor-league outfielder Dian Toscano, a player to be named later and cash considerations.
In exchange, the Dodgers have parted ways with minor-league pitchers Caleb Dirks (1.44 ERA, 10.1 K/9 in Double-A) and Philip Pfeifer (2.67 ERA, 12.5 K/9 in Single-A). The Dodgers also designated left-hander Ian Thomas for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
The 31-year-old Norris had a 4.22 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings for the Braves this year. His season divides almost perfectly into three months — a brutal April as a starter (8.74 ERA), a rebounding May out of the bullpen (1.96 ERA, including June 1) and a successful return to the starting rotation in June (2.15 ERA, 29 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings over four starts).
Most recently, Norris threw seven shutout innings with no walks and eight strikeouts Sunday against the Mets. He would be pitching on four days’ rest Friday.
Orel Hershiser said on today’s SportsNet LA game broadcast that Norris improved this year once he abandoned his change-up for a cut fastball, especially against left-handers.
For his career, Norris has a 4.43 ERA in 1,059 innings. At Dodger Stadium, he has a 3.10 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 29 innings and no homers allowed.
Toscano, a 27-year-old from Cuba, was signed to a four-year deal by Atlanta in early 2015. Making his U.S. debut this year, Toscano has a .310 on-base percentage for Double-A Mississippi.
The 23-year-old Dirks is returning to his original organization, which he left when the Dodgers acquired him 363 days ago along with Jordan Paroubeck for an international signing slot. Pfeifer was a third-round draft pick in the 2015 draft.
Thomas had a 1.42 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 19 innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, but he has been on the disabled list since May 13. He struck out 18 in 18 innings with a 4.00 ERA for the Dodgers last year.