Fernando Valenzuela to throw out first pitch before Game 3

USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers legend will throw out a ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium for a third consecutive year.

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers will have one left-hander start Game 3 of their NLDS against the Braves in Hyun-jin Ryu, but he won't be the first southpaw to take the mound at Dodger Stadium. Fernando Valenzuela will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Sunday night's playoff battle, the team announced on Saturday.

Valenzuela, in his 11th season broadcasting Dodgers games in Spanish, won both the National League Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards in 1981, leading the Dodgers to their fifth World Series win. Valenzuela was a six-time All-Star and won 141 games in his 11 years as a Dodger.

In addition to his Cy Young Award in 1981, he finished in the top five in voting three other times: second in 1986, third in 1982 and fourth in 1985.

The Dodgers' official policy is to only retire uniform numbers of Hall of Fame players (outside of Jim Gilliam, who spent three decades as a player and coach with the organization and was owner Walter O'Malley's favorite player), but Valenzuela's number 34 hasn't been issued to another player since his release in 1991. Valenzuela's number 34 is essentially retired, just unofficially so.

In recent years, Valenzuela threw out a ceremonial first pitch on his bobblehead day on Aug. 21, 2012, and also did so on opening day 2011.

Ryu, the actual Game 3 starter, finished his first season in MLB at 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA in 30 starts, the lowest ERA by a Dodgers rookie left-handed starter since Valenzuela's 2.48 mark in 1981.

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