Dodgers open exhibition season against the White Sox

PHOENIX –- Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to pitch two innings in the Dodgers’ Cactus League opener Saturday against the Chicago White Sox.

Most of the starting position players are expected to get two at-bats before they are removed from the game. The exceptions will be the three players leaving the team next month for the World Baseball Classic –- Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Luis Cruz –- who will get three each.

Ramirez will lead off, but that’s only because Manager Don Mattingly wants to help him get his third at-bat sooner. Mattingly called sidelined left fielder Carl Crawford the “most natural” leadoff hitter.

Whenever Andre Ethier is removed from the game, he will be replaced by outfield prospect Yasiel Puig. The 22-year-old Cuban, who signed with the Dodgers for $42 million last year, has been a showstopper in batting practice. While Puig is raw and could still be a couple of years away from the major leagues, some team executives have compared his athleticism to Matt Kemp’s.

Co-owner Magic Johnson canceled his scheduled appearance at Camelback Ranch because of a sinus infection, according to a team executive. Chairman Mark Walter is here.

The Dodgers’ lineup: Hanley Ramirez SS, Mark Ellis 2B, Adrian Gonzalez 1B, Andre Ethier RF, Luis Cruz 3B, Skip Schumaker CF, Jerry Hairston Jr. LF, A.J. Ellis C, Juan Uribe DH. Clayton Kershaw P.

Other pitchers available: Stephen Fife, Matt Magill, Ronald Belisario, Mark Lowe, Kelvin De La Cruz, Gregory Infante.

 The game, which starts at noon PST, will be broadcast in English (570 AM) and Spanish (1020 AM).


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