A March opener

The Dodgers will begin the season on March 31 against the Giants, the first step in the year-long celebration of both clubs’ moves West in 1958. That three-game series will be at Dodger Stadium. Strangely, the Dodgers won’t make their first trip to San Francisco until July, but the two clubs will close out the regular season Sept. 26-28 at AT&T Park. The Dodgers have released a tentative version of their schedule, which is available on their web site. Other highlighs includes, as previously reported, interleague road series with the Angels and Tigers and interleague home series with the Angels, Indians and White Sox. There are TWO trips to Cincinnati, including a two-gamer in late April. But it gets especially grueling late. The Dodgers have a San Diego-Colorado-Pittsburgh trip Sept. 8-18, with the Pittsburgh portion a four-game series. … Those coming out for Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday will get to see Eric Stults start against Barry Zito, although Stults probably will only go four or five innings and then be followed by a host of relievers. As Grady said, there will be a lot of judging going on these next three games, which makes them very similar to spring-training games.

Martin to get Campanella Award

Dodgers catcher Russell Martin will receive this year’s Roy Campanella Award, voted on by all Dodgers uniformed personnel, as the club’s most inspirational player. Martin will be presented with the award before Sunday’s season-ending game with the Giants, and it will be presented by Campanella’s daughter, Joni Roan, a Daily News employee. … Autumn is definitely here. It’s 3:45 in the afternoon and already chilly. I brought the leather — jacket, that is. Nothing like freezing your derriere off while watching fourth- and fifth-place clubs battle it out on the final weekend of the season for … well, absolutely nothing.

I almost forgot

James Loney tonight became just the fifth player in L.A. Dodgers history to drive in 31 runs in a single month. He joins Frank Howard, who had 41 RBI in August 1962; Mike Marshall, who had 37 in September 1985; Tommy Davis, who had 33 in June 1962; and Kal Daniels, who had 31 in September 1990. Strangely, Pete Guerrero only had 26 when he hit 15 home runs in June 1985.