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Kids look all right as Dodgers drop spring opener to White Sox

It was the first of 31 practice games, to be followed by 162 regular-season games, and then they hope, a long postseason run.

That makes for a serious amount of games, so there’s no getting too excited about one exhibition game, let alone the very first one.

But it’s the every-journey-starts-with-one-step routine, the Dodgers getting the first spring game of the season out of the way Wednesday, even if it was a 6-4 loss to the White Sox at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix.

Teams tend to shrug off any underwhelming performances by veterans and check the enthusiasm level of prospects in the spring.

So if Andre Ethier started off his preseason bid to win back a starting outfield job by striking out in his only two at-bats, nobody was going to get too excited. Second baseman Howie Kendrick and catcher Yasmani Grandal each went 0 for 2 with a strikeout, and it was yawns.

Better to take encouragement from the kids, and there was plenty of that to go around.

Joc Pederson, who most think has that...

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Is Jimmy Rollins the right choice to bat leadoff for the Dodgers?
Jimmy Rollins to lead off for Dodgers in exhibition opener

Jimmy Rollins will lead off for the Dodgers in their Cactus League opener Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.

“That’s the one guy that I think that we are pretty sure about,” Manager Don Mattingly said. “Jimmy’s really kind of that leadoff guy. We don’t truly have anyone else that really fits in that role. Jimmy, he’s hit a lot of one, he’s hit a lot of two, I’ve seen him hit three, but I think on our club, we look at Jimmy as that guy at the top.”

The switch-hitting Rollins stole 28 bases last season for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I think he give us a guy from both sides, he gives us a guy with speed,” Mattingly said. “He profiles up there.”

But he batted only .243 and had an unremarkable on-base percentage of .323.

“Jimmy is who he is,” Mattingly said.

Yasiel Puig will not play Wednesday. Asked where he might hit when he is in the lineup, Mattingly replied, “He could be a three, he could be a four, he could be a five. Yasiel’s got the capabilities of doing a lot of stuff.”...

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How Dodgers' having two starting catchers can be good

So what to do with this two-headed catcher thing? Pull straws, flip a coin, check with astrological charts?

The Dodgers now have two starting catchers. A.J. Ellis has been their primary catcher for the past three seasons. And now they have Yasmani Grandal, the main man last year with the San Diego Padres.

Both are going to play, with Grandal presumably getting the bulk of the work. The Dodgers didn’t send Matt Kemp to the Padres just to make room for Joc Pederson in the outfield and clear salary.

Yet exactly how they split time remains uncertain. Manager Don Mattingly really hasn’t talked much about it since saying during the team’s fan fest in January that it would work itself out. Doesn’t seem to be worried about it.

So how will they divvy up playing time?

Both are right-handed, though Grandal is a switch-hitter. Both struggled last season returning from knee surgeries; Grandal’s was from the 2013 season but was more serious reconstructive surgery. Both want to play as much as...

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Clayton Kershaw to make fifth straight opening-day start for Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw is expected to be the Dodgers’ opening-day starter for the fifth consecutive season, Manager Don Mattingly said Monday.

“That’s our plan,” Mattingly said.

The Dodgers will open the regular season April 6 at Dodger Stadium against the San Diego Padres.

The Dodgers have won all four of Kershaw’s opening-day starts. Kershaw received the decision in three of those games, the exception coming in 2012, when illness forced him out of a game in San Diego after three innings.

Kershaw has allowed only one run in 25 2/3 innings on opening day, which translates to a 0.35 earned-run average.

Kershaw opened the season last year in Australia, where he held the Arizona Diamondbacks to one run in 6 2/3 innings. Kershaw strained a back muscle in that game and was sidelined for the entire month of April.

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This is trouble: Dodgers' Alex Guerrero says 'I'm not going down'

Apparently you can squash any hope that the Dodgers might be able to persuade Alex Guerrero to return to the minors this season.

The infielder has the Dodgers in a difficult spot, the organization agreeing to give the Cuban defector a wacky four-year, $28-million contract before last season that does not allow him to be optioned to the minors after his first season without his permission. The team’s only other options are to trade or cut him.

Guerrero was penciled in as their major-league second baseman last spring, and although they were happy enough with his bat, it immediately became clear that he wasn’t ready defensively. Instead, they opened the season with a platoon of Dee Gordon and Justin Turner at second, sending Guerrero to triple-A.

They won’t have that alternative this year, unless the team can persuade Guerrero to play nice. And in an interview with Jesse Sanchez at MLB.com, he made it pretty clear that’s not going to happen.

“The team does not know what they are going to...

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