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Clayton Kershaw named opening day starter for Dodgers

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX -- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts made official the obvious on Sunday, naming ace Clayton Kershaw his opening day starter, which would be the sixth consecutive opening day start for Kershaw.

Kershaw will also start the Dodgers' Cactus League opener on Thursday against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch, Roberts said Sunday morning. Kershaw threw 41 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings on Saturday, lining him up for Thursday.

The Dodgers open their 2016 regular season on Monday, April 4 in San Diego. The Padres on Feb. 20 named Tyson Ross their opening day starter.

The six consecutive opening day starts is second only in franchise history to Don Sutton, who started every opening day from 1972-78. Don Drysdale (seven starts) and Fernando Valenzuela are the only other Dodgers pitchers to make at least six opening day starts total.

Kershaw's current streak of five straight opening day nods is tied with Jon Lester for the third-longest active streak in the majors, behind Felix Hernandez (seven straight), Jered Weaver (six) and Yovani Gallardo (six).

The Dodgers have won all five of Kershaw's opening day starts to date. He is 3-0 with a 1.14 ERA in those games, with 35 strikeouts and five walks in 31⅔ innings.