Dodgers finalize contracts with Cuban defectors Hector Olivera and Pablo Fernandez

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Back in late March, it was reported that the Dodgers had agreed to a six-year, $62.5 million contract with Cuban infielder Hector Olivera and an $8 million minor league contract with right-hander Pablo Fernandez. But because the two are Cuban defectors, it took a little while for all of the parties involved to sort out the necessary paperwork.

The wait finally ended on Tuesday afternoon, per the Dodgers’ official Twitter account

Eury de la Rosa, a 25-year-old left-hander, was designated for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot for Olivera, who will head to extended spring training for a couple of weeks but could join the Dodgers at some point in early-to-mid June. It’s not clear at this point how he’s going to fit on the Los Angeles depth chart, but these things tend to sort themselves out over time. Olivera, 30, was a 323/.407/.505 hitter in 10 seasons with Asvispas de Santiago of Cuba’s Serie Nacional. He can play all around the infield defensively.

Fernandez, a 25-year-old with a well-developed arsenal of pitches, will also head to extended spring training in Arizona before joining one of the Dodgers’ minor league affiliates. He worked primarily as a relief pitcher in his native Cuba, but the Dodgers are expected to try him as a starter first. Fernandez posted a promising 2.83 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings during the 2013-2014 season in Serie Nacional.

Clayton Kershaw to make Opening Day start for Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day
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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.