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Roberts confirms Dodgers' rotation plans

Wood, Maeda, Hill and Ryu set to follow Kershaw to the hill
MLB.com @kengurnick

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Manager Dave Roberts confirmed on Sunday that Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu will follow Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw in the Dodgers' rotation during the first week of the season.

As usual, Kershaw will be a tough act to follow, as he demonstrated on Sunday, when he struck out eight in five scoreless innings of a 2-1 loss to the Padres.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Manager Dave Roberts confirmed on Sunday that Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu will follow Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw in the Dodgers' rotation during the first week of the season.

As usual, Kershaw will be a tough act to follow, as he demonstrated on Sunday, when he struck out eight in five scoreless innings of a 2-1 loss to the Padres.

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Kershaw turns 30 on Monday and, after two seasons of back injuries, his velocity this spring has been in the low-90s. But that's been good enough to result in this Cactus League line: 0.00 ERA, 14 2/3 innings, 0 runs, 11 hits, 19 strikeouts, 4 walks.

Not to mention an RBI double in his final at-bat on Sunday for the lone Dodgers run.

Video: SD@LAD: Kershaw lines an RBI double in the 5th

"It is results-based, and zero ERA means you're doing something right," Kershaw said. "Overall, it's OK, for sure. What I'm happiest about pitching-wise is I feel good. Health is good."

Even at this advanced age?

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"Twenty-nine was fun. Hopefully, 30 will be fun, too," said Kershaw. "Just the sound of it sounds old. I don't feel old, but especially with the group of guys here, 30 is different. Core of our team is 25-ish. Wife and two kids, start feeling old, and now 30. Yeah, a little bit, but pitching-wise I don't. But everything else is telling me the game is getting a little bit younger, for sure."

Roberts said that as long as Kershaw maintains fastball command and life in the zone, he can continue being the ace he's been for a decade.

"The dominance at what he's done his entire career, that's a big ask, but I still think he's right there at the top of the game," Roberts said. "Over the last year and a half, it's been 91, 92, and in the postseason with adrenaline, he ramps up the velocity. But he's shown many times, if he's locating at 90, he's as good as he's always been."

Video: SD@LAD: Kershaw impresses on the mound, at the plate

Kershaw made 70 pitches (and threw an extra inning in the bullpen) and expects to start on Friday on normal rest, then get an extra day before the Opening Day assignment against the Giants on March 29.

Roberts had been reluctant to announce the rest of the rotation until Sunday, although he had used the order throughout Spring Training.

Wood, an All-Star for the first time last season, will be followed by Maeda, the only right-hander of the five.

The Dodgers open the season with four games against the Giants. Ryu's first start will be in Arizona on April 2. The club's first day off will be April 5.

"I think we're set, as we see it," Roberts said of the planned rotation. "Right now, yeah. We have one off-day, but that's what we're thinking."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Rich Hill, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alex Wood