Kershaw, Dodgers set for home opener

Updated: April 12, 2010, 7:46 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw hopes the adrenaline and nerves that affected him in his first start of the season are gone when he heads to the mound in the Los Angeles Dodgers' home opener.

The 22-year-old left-hander starts Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who went 4-2 in a season-opening homestand.

"It'll be a fun day, but at the same time I've got to pitch," he said. "I want to do better than last time -- just try to put that one behind me."

Kershaw (0-0) lasted 4 2/3 innings and walked six in his first start at Pittsburgh. He returns on five days' rest for the home opener on the strength of his 1.83 ERA at Dodger Stadium last season.

The two-time defending NL West champions struggled with starting pitching and defensive lapses in a 2-4 season-opening trip to Pittsburgh and Florida. The Dodgers committed eight errors on the trip.

A week into the season, the Dodgers' rotation has yet to display any endurance, with only No. 5 starter Charlie Haeger and Hiroki Kuroda going at least six innings.

"We are looking forward to getting a good streak going," manager Joe Torre said. "We thought we had something going, but then we had the rug pulled out underneath us. We just have to play better and be a better team."

Right-hander Ian Kennedy (0-0) goes for Arizona. He gave up three runs and six hits in his first start and struck out eight while not getting a decision.

Andre Ethier is expected to be in the Dodgers' lineup after not starting the last four games because of a swollen left ankle.

"We'll have the best one on Tuesday because that's home," Torre said.

"I don't care if it's the opening game of the year or you have played a week like we have, there is still some butterflies. That translates into excitement, and there's no question the players feed off that."

Rain fell in Los Angeles on Monday. Tuesday's forecast called for 66 degrees under partly cloudy skies with a 10 percent chance of rain.

Country star LeAnn Rimes will sing the national anthem as a giant American flag is unfurled on the field followed by a Navy flyover. Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am throws out the ceremonial first pitch and season ticketholder Larry King of CNN will announce "It's time for Dodger baseball" at the start of the game.

Among the off-season renovations were remodeling of the Stadium Club to feature outdoor seating and updates to the Dugout Club behind home plate. Portable concession stands have been added to help alleviate waiting times.

Matt Kemp will receive his Gold Glove award from former Dodger center fielder Steve Finley on the field before the game, when former Dodger Eric Karros presents Andre Ethier and Kemp with their Silver Slugger trophies.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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