Dodgers Spring Training: Walker Buehler Starting First Game Of Exhibition Freeway Series

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While the Los Angeles Dodgers faced questions with their starting rotation heading into Spring Training, that didn’t extend to Walker Buehler, who along with Julio Urias, figured to lead the staff this season.

The duo was then expanded to a triumvirate once again with the Dodgers re-signing Clayton Kershaw to a one-year contract. Kershaw remaining with the Dodgers drew positive responses from several players, including Buehler.

He’s maintained Kershaw still resides as the Dodgers’ ace, though outside perception has shifted in Buehler’s favor. That sentiment was further supported by manager Dave Roberts naming Buehler as the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter.

Before he takes the mound at Coors Field, Buehler is scheduled to start Sunday against the L.A. Angels in the opener of the exhibition Freeway Series, according to Kirsten Watson of SportsNet LA:

#Dodgers Dave Roberts said Walker Buehler will pitch game 1 of Freeway Series

— Kirsten Watson (@kirsten_watson) March 31, 2022

The outing at Angel Stadium will represent Buehler’s final tuneup. It’s unclear if the start will be abbreviated or if Buehler will continue to stretch out.

His only spring outing thus far came March 22, when Buehler surprisingly threw 52 pitches over 4.2 innings. Buehler, who has been slow to build up in years past, joked that was the most he’d ever thrown for an entire Spring Training period.

While the right-hander will go nearly two weeks between starting in a Spring Training game, he did throw 74 pitches in a B game at Camelback Ranch this past Saturday.

Buehler honored to be Opening Day starter for Dodgers

Kershaw has made a Dodgers franchise-record nine starts, but this year will mark the first time Buehler is taking the ball in a season opener. The closest he’s come to such an honor was starting the Dodgers’ first game at Dodger Stadium last season so Kershaw could bask in the World Series ring ceremony.

Although he generally downplayed being named the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter, the 27-year-old did express an appreciation of being selected.

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