GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Julio Urías is lined up to pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day — and that’s just fine with teammate Clayton Kershaw.
Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts hasn’t announced his scheduled starter for March 30 against Arizona. Roberts, however, told reporters Tuesday that Urías will pitch Friday in a Cactus League game against Milwaukee as he returns to Dodgers camp from participating in the World Baseball Classic with Mexico.
That would put the left-hander on regular rest for the opener versus the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium, with Kershaw on track for the second game of the season.
Kershaw, a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, has made a franchise-record nine opening-day starts for the Dodgers (2011-18, 2021). Walker Buehler started the opener last season in Colorado.
“I’m excited for Julio to get to do it,” Kershaw said Tuesday. “I’m assuming Julio gets to do it. He deserves it. It is a special thing to get to do it. I think it should be whoever pitched the best the year before and he did that.”
The 26-year-old Urías went 17-7 with a 2.16 ERA in 31 starts last season and finished third in NL Cy Young Award balloting. He was 20-3 with a 2.96 ERA the year before.
Kershaw, who turned 35 on Sunday, is a nine-time All-Star with five ERA titles. But he’s been slowed at times by injuries in recent years. The left-hander was 12-3 with a 2.28 ERA in 22 starts covering 126 1/3 innings last season.
Kershaw pitched five innings Tuesday in a spring training game against the Cleveland Guardians. He allowed two runs on four hits with no walks and two strikeouts.
“It was his best of the spring and the last inning was his best inning,” Roberts said.
The 2014 NL MVP is 197-87 with a 2.48 ERA in 15 major league seasons.
“I wouldn’t have come back if I wasn’t excited about playing. I’m excited about our team. I’m excited about our chance to win,” Kershaw said. “Opening day at Dodger Stadium, you just can’t take that for granted.”
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