Manager Dave Roberts made the announcement Tuesday on a chilly morning at Camelback Ranch before the Dodgers held their first full-squad workout of 2019. With a grin, he asked whether the news was surprising.
It was not. Kershaw, 30, has started on opening day for the Dodgers every year since 2011.
“It just means I’m old I guess,” Kershaw said. “I mean, you don’t ever want to make light of the situation. It’s very cool. The cliche is it’s just another game, and it is. But I guess opening day means a lot, symbolizes a lot of different things. I’m excited about it. It will be cool.”
Robin Roberts of the Philadelphia Phillies holds the record with 12 consecutive opening-day starts for one club. Hall of Fame right-hander Jack Morris has the overall mark, making 14 opening-day starts with the Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays.
The last pitcher not named Kershaw to start on opening day for the Dodgers was right-hander Vicente Padilla. Kershaw seized the reins, and won the first of his three National League Cy Young Awards, the next year.
“Being on the same team for that long,” Kershaw said, “getting to do that with the Dodgers, a team with such a long list of great starting pitchers, to kind of be associated with them, is pretty special.”
Walker Beuhler is ready to throw
Walker Buehler said he was tentatively scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday, his first since reporting to camp.
“If I don’t,” Buehler said, “nobody freak out.”
The Dodgers have held Buehler back since he arrived in Arizona after he absorbed a workload spike last season. The 24-year-old right-hander logged 177 innings between the regular season and playoffs, double his total from 2017.
During the regular season with the Dodgers, Buehler had a record of 8-5 with a 2.62 earned-run average in 137 1/3 innings. During the playoffs, he appeared in four games spanning 23 2/3 innings, and was 0-1 with a 3.80 ERA. He also pitched 16 innings in the minor leagues.
“I think spring training is what it is; it’s a tick longer than a lot of guys want,” Buehler said. “It needs to be this long, but we get antsy. Being a little slow on the front side is fine. Hopefully, it takes some of the anxiety out of the back.”