Clayton Kershaw to start Dodgers opener April 6

Clayton Kershaw to start Dodgers opener April 6
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to be the man on the mound in the Dodgers' season opener. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The news that emerged from the Dodgers' spring-training facility Monday wasn't as much news as it was confirmation of the obvious: Clayton Kershaw will be the Dodgers' opening-day starter.

"That's our plan," Manager Don Mattingly said.


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

"Now I've got a goal and date: April 6," Kershaw said. "Get ready to go."

The National League's most valuable player and Cy Young Award winner last season, Kershaw will be making his fifth consecutive opening-day start. The streak is the second longest in Dodgers history, trailing only Don Sutton's run of seven from 1972 to 1978.

Four Dodgers pitchers have made five opening-day starts: Sutton (seven), Don Drysdale (seven), Fernando Valenzuela (six) and Ramon Martinez (five). Sandy Koufax made only one opening-day start in his Hall of Fame career, in 1964.

"Any time you get associated with those names, it's pretty cool," Kershaw said. "The Dodgers have a huge history of pitchers and to be a part of that, to do something they did, is pretty cool."

Kershaw is 3-0 in opening-day starts and has given up only one run in 25 2/3 innings, a 0.35 earned-run average. The only time he wasn't credited with a victory was in 2012, when he left a game in San Diego after only three innings because of flu-like symptoms. The Dodgers won that game, too.

"Opening day is fun, you know," Kershaw said. "It's a fun time for everybody. The fans, the stadium, all the hoopla and everything, they treat it like a playoff game even though it's not, so it's pretty fun."

Kershaw's most memorable opening-day start was in 2013. In addition to beating the San Francisco Giants, 4-0, at Dodger Stadium, he hit an eight-inning home run to end a scoreless tie.

Last year, Kershaw pitched the Dodgers' season opener in Australia, a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kershaw strained a back muscle in that game and was sidelined for the entire month of April.

Kershaw threw a bullpen session Monday and is scheduled to start Thursday against the Chicago White Sox in the Dodgers' second Cactus League game.

Back on the mound

The rain that canceled most of the Dodgers' workout didn't prevent Hyun-Jin Ryu and Joel Peralta from throwing scheduled bullpen sessions.

Ryu and Peralta said they didn't experience any physical problems. Ryu sat out a couple of workouts last week because of tightness in his back and Peralta hadn't thrown off a mound in camp because of shoulder discomfort.


Adrian Gonzalez said he supports the new pace-of-game rules, which will start to be implemented in spring training.

"It's a TV-driven game, at least the financials of it," Gonzalez said. "TV wants the game to end in three hours. Everything that's going on with increased payrolls is because of TV. We have to be OK with that."

Gonzalez said players who are complaining about the new regulations should have spoken up sooner.

"I think it's funny for me to hear players complain about not liking the fact they can't get out of the box, but every spring training we have the players' association come in and give us all the tools so we can be plugged in and be involved," Gonzalez said. "If you don't like something, you can voice your opinion.

"The fact this got through and the players' association signed off on this means the players weren't against it. Now, people are speaking against it? Why weren't they speaking before?"

Short hops

Former first-round pick Zach Lee and left-hander David Huff will start the Dodgers' split-squad exhibitions Friday. … Nonroster left-hander Erik Bedard will start the exhibition opener Wednesday against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch. Scheduled to pitch in that game after Bedard are Carlos Frias, Juan Nicasio, Sergio Santos, Adam Liberatore and Josh Ravin.