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Torre names Vicente Padilla to start opener

March 25, 2010 | 11:19 am

Fabforum

And the winner for the Dodgers’ opening-day starter is … Vicente Padilla.

Just like everybody had it figured.

Guess this falls under something of a "safe" choice, in that it takes away any pressure on the young bucks, Clayton Kershaw or Chad Billingsley, for having to start the opener.

Also falls under: Hey, we don’t have a real ace, so what difference does it really make?

"We just had to pick somebody, so he was the guy," Manager Joe Torre said Thursday, somehow holding back the enthusiasm. "We have four guys you could put their names in a hat.''

Kershaw, however, is slotted into the No. 2 spot, meaning he’s scheduled to be the starter in the home opener at Dodger Stadium April 13.

Kershaw will be followed in the rotation by Billingsley and then Hiroki Kuroda. The fifth starter is still to be determined.

Padilla was acquired by the Dodgers for the final two months of the 2009 season, and during that period was their best starter.

He went 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA in eight games (seven starts), and then pitched seven scoreless innings in a division-series win over St. Louis. He also started the Dodgers’ only victory over Philadelphia in the NLCS.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Vicente Padilla throws some pitches while coach Rick Honeycutt looks on. Credit: Mark Duncan, AP.

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