Kershaw has been named starting pitcher for Saturday's game at
the Sydney Cricket Ground between his Los Angeles Dodgers and the
Arizona Diamondbacks which will start a major league season he hopes
will end with a World Series ring.
Having signed a seven-year deal with the Dodgers in January worth a
reported $215 million, the three-times All Star has become the face
of the two-game series Down Under. For him, though, it has been
pretty much business as usual.
"For us there's not been much build-up, opening day is opening day,"
he told reporters on Thursday.
"Obviously the anticipation of that is always fun and getting to be
part of it here is pretty cool, it'll probably never happen here in
"But as far as any added stuff, it's not really that different."
Kershaw was not prepared to comment on reports that the Dodgers
considered not bringing him to Australia but said now he had made
the trip, he was glad he would be starting.
"It's just being in Arizona for an extra week, pitching in minor
league games, I guess you do technically get your work in, but
there's not the adrenaline, it's just not the same intensity," he
"The more I thought about it, it would have been tough to simulate a
season in minor leagues. Some guys are good at it, but it's really
hard for me. I like to simulate the adrenaline."
Kershaw, who finished last season with a 16-9 record and a Major
League-best earned run average of 1.83, has not exactly lit up
spring training but said that would be irrelevant once the first
pitch is tossed on Saturday night.
"That's over now so that doesn't really matter any more," he said.
"I don't necessarily need a good outing to put it right in my mind.
It's the regular season so you try to win the games.
"Obviously, (in spring training) you can feel great and pitch well
and if you lose, it doesn't really matter.
"Now, it helps me to simplify it, just win, and that's what I'm
trying to do."
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Although he accepts that having earned the richest ever contract for
a major league pitcher is a great responsibility, he does not think
it will make him marked man on the mound.
"If I'm pitching against a guy who's one of the best in the game,
nothing really changes I'm just trying to get the guy out
regardless," he said.
"Most hitters would say that they don't really care who they get
their hits off, just try and get a hit. I don't really expect much
Even before he landed his new contract, Kershaw and his wife Ellen
had shown a marked charitable streak and they make annual trips to
Africa where their foundation has set up an orphanage for 'at-risk'
children in Zambia.
Kershaw said he was glad that his high profile allowed them to
promote such initiatives and he discovered when he celebrated his
26th birthday in Sydney on Wednesday that it had other benefits too.
"Ellen's really big on birthdays so I've got a lot to live up to for
her birthday," he said.
"She had the advantage with us being in Australia and pulled some
strings and I got to pet a baby kangaroo. It wasn't at a zoo; they
brought it to me."
(Editing by John O'Brien)
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