Sports Out West

Padres Opening Night: What should fans expect vs. Dodgers?

The San Diego Padres will open the regular season against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, March 30 at 5:05 PM. The game will be nationally-televised on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. 

Opening Night will begin with a ceremony, scheduled at 4:35 PM. The ceremony will feature a salute the U.S Military, the National Anthem, and Padres and Dodgers players joining more than 100 active duty service members on the field. The Padres will wear their camouflage uniforms, a first in a season opener. 

Also, the ceremony will include a tribute to legendary Padres broadcaster Jerry Coleman, who passed away earlier this year. Coleman’s daughter will throw the Ceremonial First Pitch. 

Starting pitchers

Padres manager Buddy Black has announced that 27-year-old Andrew Cashner will be the starter. Having just 32 career starts, Cashner will have the second fewest career starts by an Opening Night pitcher in franchise history. 

According to ESPN, Dodgers Clayton Kershaw has been placed on the 15-day disabled list following an MRI showing inflammation in his upper back. This offseason, Kershaw signed a $215 million and seven-year extension making it the largest deal for a pitcher in MLB history. Hyun-Jin Ryu is scheduled to start for Sunday night’s game. 

Who’s out and who’s coming back?

Padres:

Left-handed pitcher Cory Luebke needs a second reconstructive surgery on his elbow, forcing him to miss the 2014 season. 

Right-handed pitcher Josh Johnson will be out at least four to five weeks with a right forearm injury. He’ll start the 2014 season on the 15-day Disabled List.

Outfielder Cameron Maybin is out till May with a ruptured biceps tendon. He will be replaced by Will Venable who’s currently hitting .216 with 6 RBIs and one home run. 

Outfielder Carlos Quentin was placed on the disabled list. Xavier Nady and Tommy Medica make the roster. 

Third baseman Chase Headley said Wednesday he’s “definitely 100 percent” after being slowed by a strained right calf for much of the spring, according to ESPN. Expect to see him on Opening Night. 

Black hasn’t revealed yet who will catch for Cashner in the season opener. After missing most of last season due to an ACL injury, Yasmani Grandal has been active during spring training. He caught a full nine innings on Tuesday, but Black has said Grandal isn’t ready to catch on back-to-back games. No doubt, Nick Hundley will be a regular. It’s still a question whether Rene Rivera, who served as a backup last season for Hundley, will make the roster as a backup again this year. 

As of now, the Padres have set their 25-man roster featuring 12 active pitchers, three catchers, five infielders and five outfielders. 

Dodgers: 

Right-handed pitcher Josh Beckett, outfielder Matt Kemp, and pitcher Chad Billingsley were placed on the 15-day DL last Friday. They all won’t be eligible to return till April 3rd. Beckett has a bruised thumb, Kemp is rehabbing an ankle injury he suffered last season, and Billingsley is still recovering from right elbow surgery. 

Former Padre and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez left Thursday’s game against the Anaheim Angels after a pitch hit his elbow. He left the game as a precautionary move and is expected to play in the Dodgers first regular-season game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night. Expect to see him on the field for the opening-series at Petco Park. 

Outfielder Carl Crawford will be in the lineup after coming off the paternity list. His son was born last weekend.

Outfielder Yasiel Puig is expected to play on Opening Night. He left a game on Sunday with a sore back, but an MRI revealed he has no structural damage. Puig was a great addition to the Dodgers after joining them last June. He finished the season hitting .319 with 19 home runs and 42 RBIs. 

Photo by Christian Petersen, Getty Images Sport. 

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Laramee Bishop

Laramee Bishop is a San Diego journalist. She was previously at U-T San Diego and U-T TV as a multimedia sports producer. Her other line of work includes writing within the action sports industry of Quiksilver and TransWorld Media.