Dodgers News: Kenta Maeda ‘Honored’ To Start 2016 Home Opener
Six New Dodgers On 2016 Opening Day Active Roster
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers take the field at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday for the first time this season, but won’t have Clayton Kershaw toeing the rubber. In beginning their 2016 scheduled with a seven-game road trip, Kershaw started Opening Day and over the weekend at AT&T Park.

Making a second turn through their starting rotation, the Dodgers hand the ball to Kenta Maeda. The Japanese right-hander was one of the club’s marquee free agent signings during the winter, agreeing to an eight-year, $25 million contract that’s loaded with incentives.

Maeda took the mound at Dodger Stadium during the exhibition Freeway Series, allowing two runs on three hits over four innings in a final tuneup for the regular season. He then made his Major League debut at Petco Park against the San Diego Padres.

Not only did Maeda throw six shutout innings with four strikeouts, he also hit his first home run in the Majors. Maeda’s solo shot was the Dodgers’ first home run of 2016.

When recently asked for his thoughts on starting the Dodgers home opener, Maeda called it an honor, according to ESPN’s Doug Padilla:

“I feel honored to start in the home opener,” he told about a dozen members of the media from Japan before Sunday’s game at San Francisco. “I just need to do my job and if I do, the results will come.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts believes Maeda starting on Tuesday is a pleasant aligning of the stars:

“I think it’s great for us to have him pitch that day and I think it’s great for baseball to have him pitch the home opener for us,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

After his Freeway Series start, Maeda said he was looking forward to more outings at Dodger Stadium. Maeda’s first start in spring came against the Diamondbacks; he allowed one hit and had a pair of strikeouts over two scoreless innings.