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Clayton Kershaw starts Friday, plus other Dodgers pitching notes

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Surprise! Kershaw will make 2021 Cactus League debut against the Royals

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers-Workouts Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw will make his 2021 spring training debut on Friday against the Royals in Surprise, manager Dave Roberts said on Wednesday.

The left-hander threw a bullpen session on Tuesday, and is expected to pitch two innings. He’ll be followed on Saturday by Trevor Bauer against the Padres at Camelback Ranch. Roberts didn’t reveal any starting plans beyond Saturday, but if they stay in order that could be Walker Buehler, who started on Tuesday and pitched two innings.

Though that would line up a rotation order of Kershaw, Bauer, then Buehler, that’s not necessarily the order the Dodgers will keep for the start of the season. The Dodgers have two off days this spring — March 13 and 24 — and Roberts said earlier this week that the team could still shuffle the rotation before opening day.

Whatever the order, the Dodgers’ home opener is their eighth game of the season, on April 9 against Washington. It could work out that the pitcher who starts the third game of the season could be in line to make the first Dodger Stadium start of the season.

Whether that game has fans at the game in Los Angeles remains to be seen. California governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday he’s working with Major League Baseball, though stopped short of guaranteeing fans at games in the state by opening day, per Bill Shaikin at the Los Angeles Times:

“We have confidence that when you look forward to April, to opening day,” Newsom said, “and where we are likely to be if we all do our jobs, if we don’t let our guard down and spike the ball — wrong sport — then I have all the confidence in the world that fans will be back safely, in a lot of these outdoor venues.”

Notes

  • Jimmy Nelson will make his spring debut on Thursday, starting against the Cubs, a game in which top prospect Josiah Gray will also pitch.
  • David Price threw live batting practice on Wednesday, roughly 15-20 pitches. “I would assume that he’ll do a ‘pen in a couple days, then hopefully after that point whe can get him into a game,” Roberts said.
  • Mitch White, who was sidelined earlier in camp with shoulder soreness, is in the playing catch phase now, and will be built up slowly.