Clayton Kershaw 'thrilled' by nomination

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, one of the leading candidates for the National League Cy Young Award, was nominated by the club on Tuesday for this year's Roberto Clemente Award, which goes annually to a major league player who best represents the game through contributions on and off the field.

Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, have set up the Kershaw Challenge, which solicits donations for the building of an orphanage in Zambia. Kershaw himself has pledged $100 for every strikeout. The original goal of $70,000 is close to being met, Kershaw said, with the Dodgers being among the donors. The process of buying land for the orphanage is already on-going, but donations still are being accepted.

"I'm thrilled the Dodgers have recognized me for it," Kershaw said. "When you're in the position we're in of getting to play baseball, you have an opportunity to help a lot of people. This Kershaw Challenge thing that my wife and I have started putting together has been a huge blessing for us. I'm grateful to the Dodgers for being so helpful.''

Each of the 30 major league clubs nominates a player for the Clemente award. The winner is announced during the World Series. The last Dodgers player to win it was Steve Garvey in 1981.

Clemente, an outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was killed in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, while attempting to deliver relief supplies to earthquake-ravaged Nicaragua. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously the following year after a special election in which the usual five-year waiting period was waived.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.