Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal singles against the Giants in the first… (Jayne Kamin-Oncea / US Presswire )
The absence of big-name players on the roster would seem to indicate otherwise, but the Dodgers' opening-day payroll was higher this year than it was in 2009, when the team made its last playoff appearance.
Counting the five players who are on the disabled list, the Dodgers will pay the players on their opening-day roster more than $95 million, according to salary figures filed with the union. They are on the hook for an additional $15 million-plus in salary deferments from previous seasons.
The 2009 Dodgers, who had Manny Ramirez, started the season with a payroll of approximately $90 million, plus another $11 million or so in deferments. The 2009 team had a couple of major bargains turn into key performers — Randy Wolf ($5 million) and Orlando Hudson ($3 million).
The $95-million figure marks a significant increase from last season, when the Dodgers opened the season with an $83-million payroll.
The Dodgers' highest-paid player this year is Rafael Furcal, who will earn $12 million in the final year of a three-year, $30-million contract.
The five players on the disabled list — Casey Blake, Jon Garland, Vicente Padilla, Jay Gibbons and Dioner Navarro — will make a combined $12.5 million.
The Dodgers have seven players with zero to three years of major league experience, including opening-day starter Clayton Kershaw, whom they can essentially pay whatever they like. These players will earn anywhere from $414,000 (Ivan DeJesus Jr.) to $500,000 (Kershaw).
The roster also includes three players who were invited to spring training on minor league contracts — Lance Cormier ($800,000), Mike MacDougal ($500,000) and Aaron Miles ($500,000).
Uribe sits out
Juan Uribe was out of the lineup, as the area above his left elbow was swollen as a result of a pitch by Tim Lincecum that struck him the previous night.
"It hurts," Uribe said.
Miles took his place in the lineup.
Uribe said he didn't think he would be out for more than a couple of days — a prediction that seemed to be supported by the results of an X-ray exam, which were negative.
DeJesus makes debut
DeJesus said the game on Friday was "another game," but his stoicism was betrayed by the smile on his face.
After 562 games in the minor leagues, the 23-year-old was about to make his major league debut.
DeJesus, who started at second base and batted in the No. 2 spot, is the son of Ivan DeJesus, a longtime major league infielder. The elder DeJesus played for the Dodgers from 1974-76.
"I've been waiting my whole life for this," DeJesus Jr. said.
DeJesus said his mother and wife were in the stands at Dodger Stadium. His father couldn't be there because he is the third-base coach for the Chicago Cubs, who hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates.
For every home run Andre Ethier hits this season, Farmer John will donate 1,000 pounds of meat to the Union Rescue Mission.
Ethier isn't the only Dodger involved in a performance-based charitable effort.
Kershaw will donate $1,000 for every batter he strikes out toward the construction of an orphanage in Zambia, where he and his wife visited in the off-season on a religious mission. Kershaw struck out nine batters on opening day.
"It got off to a good start," he said.
Fans can pledge money to Kershaw's cause by visiting ariseafrica.org/kershawschallenge.htm.
San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito, who was involved in a car accident Wednesday night, threw on flat ground and is expected to make his scheduled start in the series finale against the Dodgers on Sunday.