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Clayton Kershaw quickly named Dodgers opening-day starter

February 21, 2012 |  9:22 am

Clayton3
Say this about Don Mattingly, when he knows what he wants, he gets to it. Either that or he’s wise enough to get the obvious out of the way in a hurry.

Players had barely completed their first-day greetings at Camelback Ranch spring training camp on Tuesday morning when Mattingly announced Clayton Kershaw would be the Dodgers opening-day starter April 5 in San Diego.

In other developments, Dodgers’ caps will continue to be blue.

When you have the reigning National League Cy Young winner returning, figuring he’s your starter on opening day is the manager’s easiest call of the season. Got that one done.

But because the Dodgers open the season with four games in San Diego, followed by an off-day before heading to Los Angeles, Kershaw could also start the home opener on April 10 against the Pirates.

Kershaw, 23, won the pitcher’s National League triple crown last season, with 21 wins (tying with Arizona’s Ian Kennedy), a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts.

Unlike in recent seasons, the Dodgers have an undisputed ace in the left-handed Kershaw. Mattingly helped start him down that road a year ago, when he also named Kershaw the opening day starter on the first day of spring.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers starter Clayon Kershaw. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

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