Francisco Rodríguez
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Francisco Rodríguez still looking to return to majors

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Former reliever Francisco Rodríguez still wants to pitch in Major League Baseball, MLive.com’s Evan Woodbery reports, quoting a translated interview Rodríguez did with Venezuelan journalist Guillermo Arcay last week on Instagram Live.

Rodríguez said of the majors, “That’s the goal. In spite of the fact that I’m seen as being advanced in age, that is the goal. The injuries and the ups and downs have slowed me down. But I have the conviction, the hunger and I am completely sure I can accomplish it.”

Rodríguez, 38, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2017 with the Tigers, when he posted a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings. He signed with the Phillies on a minor league deal in early 2018, but was cut before the end of spring training. He then pitched for the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League as well as for Acereros de Monclova in the Mexican League.

On MLB’s all-time saves leaderboard, Rodríguez ranks fourth with 437. He trails Mariano Rivera (652), Trevor Hoffman (601), and Lee Smith (478). It seems reasonable to assume that, even if Rodríguez were to make it back to the majors, he wouldn’t be used in save or otherwise high-leverage situations.

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.