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Corey Seager is youngest opening day Dodgers SS in 72 years

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Seager, not yet 22, is the youngest Dodgers opening day starter at any position in 16 years.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers will try to make a winner of Dave Roberts in his managerial debut on Monday afternoon, and Roberts' first starting lineup features a little bit of history thanks to rookie phenom Corey Seager.

The Dodgers' shortstop is still three weeks away from his 22nd birthday, and will bat second against the Padres and starting pitcher Tyson Ross.

Seager is the youngest opening day starting shortstop in 72 years, and the second-youngest dating back to 1913. At 21 years, 343 days old on Monday, Seager is the youngest since future major league manager Gene Mauch started at shortstop for the Dodgers on opening day in 1944 during World War II at 18 years, 152 days old.

Seager is the youngest Dodgers opening day starter at any position since Adrian Beltre, who was 20 years, 362 days old in 2000 (Beltre's second opening day, by the way).

Seager made his major league debut against the Padres at Petco Park last September 3, and collected at least one hit in each of his five starts last September against the Padres. He was 9-for-21 (.429) against them, with two doubles, a home run and two walks, though none of those plate appearances came against Ross.

"It was more of figuring out where I wanted Corey Seager to hit," manager Dave Roberts said Monday. "He hit third in the postseason last year, and he gives us good, quality at-bats. I wanted him to hit behind Chase."

Chase Utley is hitting leadoff, just the 12th time in 1,499 career starts he bats atop a batting order.

"I talked to Chase a couple days ago that this might be a possibility, and I shot him a text yesterday just to confirm that he's going to hit leadoff. He has done it before and has had some success," Roberts said. "I think for me just to get him the extra at-bats. Sometimes you get a guy on second base and two outs, and I feel he's been a guy who's driven in runs so I feel comfortable in that spot.

"Ultimately, I trust the at-bats and I feel he can get on base. I believe he can handle it, and I think today he gives us our best chance at leadoff. Tomorrow, we'll go from there."

Carl Crawford, 9-for-18 with four doubles and four walks against Ross in his career, is down to sixth in the order, perhaps in a spot to drive in runs.

Old friend Matt Kemp, who batted .328/.388/.443 with four doubles and a home run in 16 games against his old team, hits third for the Padres while manning right field.