Clayton Kershaw to pitch Dodgers opener
Reporting from Phoenix — What was long presumed became official Tuesday when Clayton Kershaw was selected the Dodgers’ opening-day starter by Manager Don Mattingly.
The Dodgers open the regular season at San Diego on April 5.
“It’s nice to have something to look forward to, to have a goal in mind of what you’re getting ready for,” Kershaw said. “I’m definitely excited to do it.”
Kershaw also pitched for the Dodgers on opening day last season and went on to win the National League Cy Young Award. The last Dodgers pitcher to start on consecutive opening days was Derek Lowe (2005-07).
Because of a day off in the first week of the season, Kershaw could also pitch the Dodgers’ home opener, against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 10.
“There’s a pretty good chance of that, too,” Mattingly said. “He only knows about the first one, so I won’t tell him about the second one yet.”
Blake Hawksworth has setback
Blake Hawksworth has been ruled out for opening day because an infection resulting from his elbow operation in January required him to undergo a second operation a couple of weeks later.
Hawksworth’s setback will open up a spot in the bullpen. Josh Lindblom and non-roster players Jamey Wright and John Grabow figure to be the leading candidates to take Hawksworth’s place on the opening-day roster.
Ronald Belisario is back
Ronald Belisario reported to camp in time, something he has never done with the Dodgers.
Belisario was a late arrival in 2009 and 2010. He couldn’t secure a work visa last year and never made it out of his native Venezuela.
Belisario, who sat out part of the 2010 season to receive treatment in a substance-abuse program, is facing a 25-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy. Belisario’s suspension is related to a drug of abuse and not a performance-enhancing drug.
Belisario didn’t speak to reporters Tuesday, saying he had to leave for a dentist appointment.
Steve Yeager will be in camp to work with catchers and is expected to be with the team for home games during the regular season. Yeager, 63, was the Dodgers’ primary catcher for most of 1970 and was co-MVP of the 1981 World Series. … Ted Lilly didn’t report to Camelback Ranch on Tuesday because his wife gave birth to their second child, daughter Nora Grace. … Mattingly became a grandfather for the first time this month. His oldest son, Taylor, became the father to a boy, Cash Michael.
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