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Dodgers Shockingly Name Vicente Padilla Opening Day Starter

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The transformation of Vicente Padilla is complete, from pariah in Texas to opening day starter.  Though unconfirmed by the club, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that Padilla will get the nod April 5 in Pittsburgh. From Gurnick:

Padilla will start April 5 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh and be followed in the rotation by Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda and an as-yet-unnamed fifth starter. Factoring in off-days, Kershaw is lined up to start the home opener at Dodger Stadium on April 13 against Arizona.

Padilla was so hated in Texas that when he was released, other Rangers personally congratulated and thanked general manager Jon Daniels.  Yet, given a second chance in Los Angeles, he pitched well in his six weeks as a Dodger, working his way all the way up to playoff savior.  Padilla pitched two wonderful games, closing out the Cardinals and allowing one run against the Phillies, before faltering in his final playoff start.  He was the only Dodger to start three playoff games.

For the last few weeks, the hot rumor going around camp was that Clayton Kershaw would get the opening day nod.  The rumor got so hot that the Dodger PR staff, at the request of some of the beat reporters, sent out a list of youngest opening day starters in MLB history (Kershaw would have been the 33rd youngest in MLB, and the third youngest Dodger).  Instead, Kershaw will start the home opener instead.

The Dodgers open in Pittsburgh on April 5.  According to Paul Ladewski of the Altoona Mirror, the Pirates will open with Zach Duke.