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MLB notebook: No surprise: Kershaw gets Opening Day start for Dodgers

| Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, 7:27 p.m.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts joked it was a tough call, but Clayton Kershaw will be the Opening Day pitcher for Los Angeles for the sixth year in a row.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner will help the Dodgers open the season on April 4 opener against the Padres.

“That was a tough one,” Roberts kidded Sunday. “That was one of the harder managerial decisions I've had to make. After a lot of review and thoughts, we came to that conclusion.”

Kershaw was 16-7 last season with a 2.13 earned run average and 301 strikeouts — the first pitcher to reach 300 strikeouts since 2002.

A sixth start on Opening Day ties him for third with Fernando Valenzuela in Dodgers history. Don Sutton and Don Drysdale each had seven.

“Consistency is something that's important to me,” Kershaw said. “To be able to do this six times is something that — when it's all said and done — you can look back and enjoy it.”

Kershaw started five consecutive opening days under former manager Don Mattingly. He is 3-0 with two no-decisions and a 1.14 ERA in those starts, and the Dodgers have won all five.

Roberts also said Kershaw would make his first spring start Thursday against the White Sox.

Rangers sign Desmond

Free agent Ian Desmond agreed to a one-year deal with the Rangers that, when finalized, will include a move to the outfield for the one-time All-Star shortstop.

The $8 million deal, first reported by Fox Sports, was subject to Desmond passing a physical. Desmond, 30, had spent all seven of his major league seasons with the Nationals.

Desmond likely will play left field for the AL West champion Rangers with Josh Hamilton expected to miss at least the first month of the season because of left knee issues. Desmond has started only one of his 927 career games in the outfield.

Texas will forfeit its first-round pick in the June amateur draft, No. 19 overall, because Desmond rejected a $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Nationals after last season.

Owen to fill in for Beasley

The Rangers are bringing in Spike Owen as their interim third base coach with former Pirates coach Tony Beasley going through chemotherapy treatment.

Owen is scheduled to be in their big league camp Monday, two days before the first exhibition game this spring.

Beasley was diagnosed with rectal cancer during the offseason and will be undergoing chemotherapy while with the team in Arizona.

Bye-bye, Oriole pie

Over the past few years, the Orioles often celebrated victories with center fielder Adam Jones smashing a pie in the hero's face.

Now, the team has decided to end the practice for safety reasons. The ritual became so ingrained that Jones arranged with a local bakery to furnish the pies.

Jones tweeted the news Saturday. “It's no one's fault. It's just about safety. At the end of the day it can be dangerous, so we're being smart,” Jones wrote.

Uribe signing official

The Indians signed veteran infielder Juan Uribe to a one-year contract.

Uribe likely will be the team's starting third baseman, replacing second-year infielder Giovanny Urshela, who started 76 games for Cleveland in his rookie season.

The 36-year-old third baseman agreed to the deal more than a week ago but had to resolve visa issues to would allow him to travel to the United States from his home in the Dominican Republic.

Soriano joins Blue Jays

Former All-Star closer Rafael Soriano has signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays.

The AL East champions said the right-handed reliever will be invited to spring training.

The 36-year-old Soriano pitched in six games for the Cubs last July after signing as a free agent, going 2-0 with a 6.35 ERA.

His last full season came in 2014 with the Nationals.

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