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Hyun-jin Ryu starts re-opener for Dodgers vs. Padres

The Dodgers were 11-8 against the Padres in 2013, including 6-4 in San Diego.

Christian Petersen

SAN DIEGO -- Let's get it on ... again.

The Dodgers open the domestic portion of their regular season on Sunday night against the Padres at Petco Park in San Diego with a chance to get three wins before 27 other teams in MLB have even thrown a pitch.

Getting the call for the Dodgers in the opener in San Diego is Hyun-Jin Ryu, currently leading the majors with a 0.00 ERA. He got that by pitching five scoreless innings last Sunday in Australia (Saturday night in Los Angeles), which happened to be the Dodgers' last game.

Ryu is the first Dodgers pitcher to start consecutive games since ... well, since Ricky Nolasco last July. But before that, the last one was Andy Messersmith in July 1975. Both Nolasco and Messersmith sandwiched their consecutive starts around the All-Star break.

In fact, the Dodgers' first two starting pitchers in San Diego will be a guy starting his second straight game followed by a guy who started three straight games in 2012, though Zack Greinke's streak was aided by a first-inning ejection and the All-Star break.

Ryu's second straight start was in question as late as two days ago, as he cracked his right big toenail while running the bases in Sydney. But after throwing a bullpen session on Friday and not feeling any pain in his toe, he felt ready to go. Ryu, who threw 87 pitches in his first start, said he wouldn't be limited against the Padres.

"If I had any doubt that I could throw like I normally could, I wouldn't be out there," Ryu said, through a translator.

Outside of the toenail, Ryu has been perfectly healthy this spring, entering camp in better shape than he did in 2013. He put up a 2.20 ERA in four Cactus League starts, with 10 strikeouts and three walks in 16⅓ innings. He was asked the biggest difference between this year and last.

"Mostly it's my physical condition," Ryu said. "I feel a lot better than I did last year."

While Sunday won't be the first game for the Dodgers, it will be Opening Day for the Padres with all the pomp and circumstance surrounding it.

"I'm very honored. It's a privilege to take the mound for a team on the Opening Day, especially coming from Korea last year," Ryu said. "I'm going to take it very seriously, and do the best that I can."

Ryu also hopes Sunday night goes better than his four Opening Day starts with the Hanwha Eagles in the Korean Baseball Organization.

"I think I lost every start," Ryu said with a laugh.

Then again, if Sunday night in San Diego doesn't go so well, it wasn't really Opening Day anyway.

The other side

Andrew Cashner gets the call for the Padres, making his first Opening Day start. The right-hander was 10-9 with a 3.09 ERA in 31 games in 2013, including 26 starts, with 128 strikeouts and 47 walks in 175 innings. Cashner was even better at home, 5-4 with a 1.95 ERA at Petco Park with 52 strikeouts and 13 walks in 78⅓ innings.

The good: Juan Uribe is 4-for-8 (.500) with two doubles against Cashner, while Andre Ethier is 3-for-8 (.375) with a double and two walks, and Adrian Gonzalez is 5-for-13 (.385) with a double and a walk.

The bad: Hanley Ramirez is 1-for-11 (.091) against Cashner, while Yasiel Puig is 1-for-9 (.111) with a walk

Game info

Time: 5:05 p.m. PT