Dodgers’ rotation lining up with Julio Urias-Clayton Kershaw as 1-2

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — You only need to do the math.

Major League Baseball has instructed teams this spring not to announce their Opening Day starter before Friday so that an “Opening Day Pick ’Em” promotion can be unveiled with all 15 pitching matchups.

But Clayton Kershaw started for the Dodgers against the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday and is scheduled to pitch again on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium in the Freeway Series opener against the Angels. That puts him in line to start the second game of the season on March 31 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Once Team Mexico was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic on Monday, left-hander Julio Urias traveled back to Arizona and is scheduled to start Friday’s Cactus League game against the Milwaukee Brewers. That gives him five days off before Opening Day when he will likely draw the season-opening assignment for the first time in his career.

“I’m excited for Julio to get to do it. I think he’ll be great,” Kershaw said Tuesday, acknowledging the obvious before realizing the Opening Day assignment is presumed but not official.

“I’m assuming Julio is gonna get to do it. I mean, he deserves it. I’m happy for Julio. It’s a special thing to get to do. I think it should be whoever pitched the best the year before, and he did that. So he deserves it.”

Kershaw has had the Opening Day assignment a franchise-record nine times over the past 12 years, missing out due to injuries in 2019 (Hyun-Jin Ryu) and 2020 (Dustin May) then passing the honor to Walker Buehler last year.

Heading into his 16th season, the three-time Cy Young Award winner said he remains excited about the start of another baseball year.

“I’ve said this before, but I wouldn’t have come back if I wasn’t excited about playing,” said Kershaw, who signed a one-year contract in December. “So I’m excited about our team. I’m excited about the chance to win. I think we do have a legit chance to do both of those things. And so for me personally, I’m always excited.

“Opening Day at Dodger Stadium, you can’t take that for granted, man. You just never know. So I say the same thing about the playoffs. I say the same thing about getting to stand on that mound. I think I’ve done a little bit better job, as I’ve gotten a little older, to understand that. But yeah, at the end of the day, all those feelings – excitement, anxiety, wanting to pitch good – all that stuff really doesn’t change. And I hope it doesn’t.”


Kershaw had hoped to add another line to his list of accomplishments by pitching for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic this year. Insurance issues forced him to withdraw but he has watched the competition go on without him, staying in contact with Dodger teammates who did play in the tournament.

“Obviously, Barnsey and Julio, I felt bad for them,” Kershaw said of Team Mexico teammates Austin Barnes and Urias, who lost to Japan in a semifinal Monday. “I know they were really feeling it. Barnsey was really excited about it.

“Hopefully we get that matchup of Ohtani and Trout (in the final). It’s good for the game. So I’m excited. It’s fun to watch. I’ve had a little bit of FOMO (fear of missing out). But overall, it’ll be a good time to watch.”


Right-hander Tony Gonsolin continues to test his injured left ankle with increased activity on flat ground. When he will take the next step and throw off a mound remains to be determined.

“That will be a good tell, once we get there and kind of have to bear the weight on the slope. But I just don’t know when that is,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Gonsolin was able to make just one Cactus League appearance before his injury and will likely need time to build up before he would be ready to join the Dodgers’ rotation.

“It’s obviously been enough time that there’s probably a significant buildup that has to take place,” Roberts agreed.

Gonsolin suffered the ankle injury two weeks ago during a workout.


The Dodgers made three roster moves Tuesday, sending pitchers Gavin Stone, Adam Kolarek and Jake Reed to minor-league camp. Stone, one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, made a good impression in his first big-league camp (despite being sidetracked by strep throat briefly). The 24-year-old right-hander didn’t give up a run in 6⅔ innings of Cactus League action, striking out 14 and giving up just five hits.