Daily Distractions: The Dodgers are starting the 2014 regular season before everyone else — again.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw might have three starts under his belt by the time some teams have played only five games. (Associated Press photo)


ESPN has selected the Dodgers’ first regular-season game in the United States for its first Sunday Night Baseball game of the season.

That sounds simple, but it contains some interesting implications.

The Dodgers were originally going to begin the non-Australia portion of their regular season on Monday, March 31, like every other team. That game — in San Diego — will now be played the night before, on March 30 at 8 p.m. There are no other MLB games scheduled for that day.

Dan Shulman, John Kruk, Curt Schilling and Buster Olney will broadcast the game.

But who will pitch?

If Don Mattingly hasn’t abandoned his start-Clayton-Kershaw-as-often-as-possible mantra since signing his fat new contract, expect Clayton Kershaw to start the game. The Dodgers have nine days between their second game in Australia (scheduled for 7 p.m. Pacific Time on March 22) and their first game in San Diego.

And because the game will be played a day earlier, Kershaw will have four full days of rest before the Dodgers’ home opener on April 4 against the San Francisco Giants. So Dodger fans might be the big winners in all of this.

The losers? Anyone who has a gripe about ESPN playing favorites with certain terms. The Dodgers will be, by far, the most exposed baseball team in March:

Some bullet points for a Panamanian Martyrs’ Day:

• SportsNet LA is launching Feb. 25, and the Dodgers don’t want you to know.

• The Masahiro Tanaka derby is on. His first step:

• Some 2014 uniform numbers were revealed today: Carl Crawford 3, Mark McGwire 25, Alexander Guerrero 7, Dan Haren 11, Jamey Wright 28, Chris Perez 54.

• Ned Colletti said Wednesday that he wants to add a middle infielder with some experience and versatility. FanGraphs.com breaks down why it’s such an area of need for the Dodgers.

• Former Dodger Jamey Carroll is off the market. He signed a minor-league contract with the Washington Nationals.

• One Hall of Fame voter lost his vote today, involuntarily.

• Hall of Fame voters don’t have to reveal their ballots. BaseballProspectus.com looks at how the secret ballots differ from those that were publicly disclosed.

• Burned out on Baseball Hall of Fame talk yet? Here’s a good, short closing thought: “We can change the rules and even change who gets to vote, but as long as some people view it as a survey while others view it as a test, we’re always going to have frustration from each side towards the other. We can’t legislate that reality away.”

One major-league scout on St. Louis Cardinals infielder Jhonny Peralta: “I could tell exactly when he ran out of his last shipment. I could tell, on the day, when Jhonny Peralta was off the steroids. Because I was like, “Wait a minute!” That step that has been quick is all of the sudden a half step slower. He’s not getting the ball”

• Patrick Sweany’s rocker “Them Shoes” sounds both older and newer than it actually is (2007). Impressive:

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