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GLENDALE, ARIZ. (CBS/AP) — Clayton Kershaw has been named the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter for the third consecutive season.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly made the announcement on Saturday. Kershaw will become the club’s first pitcher to start three straight season openers since Derek Lowe (2005-07).
“I’m excited to do it,” Kershaw reported from Camelback Ranch. “It’s a huge honor. The chance to pitch on Opening Day is a big deal. Then after that, it’s just once every five days from there.”
The Dodgers will start the 2013 season on April 1 when they host the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
In 2011, Kershaw, who won the NL Cy Young Award that season, pitched seven scoreless innings in a 1-0 win against the Giants at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw was named the Opening Day starter on the very first day of Spring Training that year. The following season, Kershaw fought through flu-like symptoms on Opening Day to throw three scoreless innings in San Diego in a 5-3 win over the Padres.
“You like guys who are low maintenance,” Mattingly said. “He’s been relatively healthy. He’s pretty consistent in his outings. You don’t get big fluctuations. You kind of know what to count on, what to expect.”
Although the announcement comes as little surprise, there was increasing talk of who would be named the No. 1 starter for the Dodgers after a busy off-season that has resulted in heightened expectations. The club spent $200 million dollars in the acquisition of right-hander, and fellow former Cy Young winner, Zack Greinke, and the addition of South Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu to the rotation.
“We’ve got a great team,” Kershaw said. “I’m excited for the season to start, just like every year. But until the games start, nothing has changed as far as I’m concerned. I’m not trying to downplay anything that has happened to our team. But at the same time, it’s always exciting. Every team comes to camp thinking they’re going to win the World Series.”
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)