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Dave Roberts too busy, focused to dwell on first game as manager

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

SAN DIEGO -- Dave Roberts was a busy man on Monday, taking the reins for his first regular season game as Dodgers manager, in the home park where he was a coach for the last five seasons, in the county he lives in.

Roberts said he left 13 tickets for family and friends at will call.

"I have my family coming down. I know this city really well and the team really well. ... I got a ton of texts saying the well wishing," Roberts said before Monday's game against the Padres. "But there has been numerous people wishing me and the Dodgers well so it’s been busy. I haven't gotten back to anyone yet."

His time with them will likely come after the game. After all, Roberts has a job to do.

"I haven’t told myself to slow down and take this in yet. I think there will be about no more than 10 seconds when I will watch the fly over and I’ll see the flag out there," Roberts said. "You see the bunting, I’ll take about 10 seconds and that will be it."

Roberts did have time for a brief pregame meeting with Dodgers owners, in town for opening day.

"They just basically said 'This is your ship, run it as you see fit'," Roberts relayed to reporters. "They just wished me well."

But no matter how many times he was asked about his first game with the Dodgers, or what all this meant to him, Roberts seemed to deflect the question, too focused on his duties at hand.

"It's different, it's exciting," Roberts said. "I think opening day is always exciting for everyone, but I don't get too much out of just trying to prepare for this game.

"I think I'm going to say a few things, but we've had conversations all spring. This is a team that has won the division three years in a row, so we know what we have to do to win baseball games."


Howie Kendrick continues to nurse his tight left calf, rehabbing at Camelback Ranch in Arizona. He will take live batting practice in the next few days.

"We’re setting up a live batting practice for him," Roberts said. "For us, it’s hopeful he will be ready for the home opener, as well as Yasmani [Grandal]."

Hyun-jin Ryu will also throw live batting practice on Thursday or Friday in Arizona, the next step in his rehab from shoulder surgery after progressing in his bullpen sessions last week.

The Dodgers face five straight right-handed pitchers to open the season, ending with southpaw Madison Bumgarner on Saturday in San Francisco. Roberts said he would look to get right-handed batters Scott Van Slyke and Kiké Hernandez, plus perhaps Trayce Thompson as well, a start before Saturday against Bumgarner, though said starts might not come before San Francisco, where they will face Jake Peavy on Thursday afternoon and Matt Cain on Friday night.