Juan Rivera is off the disabled list and back on the Dodgers’ active roster just four weeks after tearing his hamstring, which was initially expected to be a two-month recovery timetable.
To make room for Rivera’s return the Dodgers optioned Scott Van Slyke back to Triple-A after he went 6-for-31 (.194) with one homer in his first taste of the big leagues at age 25.
Rivera’s absence opened the door for Bobby Abreu to claim a big role in the Dodgers’ outfield, so manager Don Mattingly figures to use Rivera as a part-timer primarily versus left-handed pitching.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.
The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.
Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.