Clayton Kershaw: Julio Urías ‘Deserves’ To Be Dodgers Opening Day Starter

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have not yet announced who will start on Opening Day, but all indications point to Julio Urías pitching the season opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks rather than Clayton Kershaw.

MLB has delayed the Dodgers from making their announcement, but manager Dave Roberts has already indicated it would be a left-hander and Kershaw is scheduled to pitch on Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels, which would line him up to start the second game of the regular season.

Kershaw has started on Opening Day in nine of the past 12 seasons, but Urías has emerged as the ace of the staff. If it is indeed Urías starting, Kershaw is happy for his fellow southpaw to get that opportunity, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“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.”

It is not believed Roberts has informed the players of the Dodgers’ decision, so Kershaw’s quote comes as another indication that it will indeed be Urias starting on Opening Day.

Last year, the honor went to Walker Buehler, but he is currently recovering from his second Tommy John Surgery and will miss most, if not all, of the 2023 season. Kershaw’s last Opening Day start came in the 2021, but the prior two seasons it was Dustin May and Hyun-Jin Ryu who made the starts.

Urías recently returned to Dodgers camp after helping Team Mexico advance to the semifinals of the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Last season, Urías finished with a 2.16 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 166 strikeouts over 31 starts.

Kershaw made two trips to the injured list, but still enjoyed an elite season that saw him post a 2.28 ERA and 0.94 WHIP with 137 strikeouts over 22 starts.

Julio Urías back with Dodgers

Although Urías was removed from the Team Mexico roster at the beginning of the week, he remained with them for their semifinals matchup against Team Japan. Now Urías has returned to Camelback Ranch and is scheduled to pitch Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

That would leave him on five days of rest before then starting Opening Day on March 30.

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