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Hyun-Jin Ryu talks confidence, expectations for 2013

The season, and the rivalry, returned Monday at Dodger Stadium.

On Tuesday, Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu will not only get his first taste of Major League Baseball, but also of the historic Dodgers-Giants rivalry when the Korean lefty makes his Major League debut at 7:10 p.m. PT in Los Angeles.

Ryu is one of a handful of the Dodgers' highly touted and expensive additions since last season's Trade Deadline, inking a six-year, $36 million deal last December.

The 26-year-old pitched seven years for Hanwha in the Korea Baseball Organization and showed steady improvement in Spring Training, finishing camp Thursday with four perfect innings against the Angels. Now it's time for Ryu to face hitters who haven't seen him, though the lefty said he doesn't know if that's necessarily an advantage.

"As much as they don't know me, I don't know them," Ryu said. "So it's going to be a two-way street for me to figure them out at the same time they are figuring me out."

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was impressed with Ryu's camp and said the youngster pitched his way behind ace Clayton Kershaw.

"He's pitched really well, as good as anybody in camp," Mattingly said. "He's earned that [No. 2] spot."

While Ryu will be making his first start in the U.S., he'll be dueling against an old pro in Madison Bumgarner. True, the Giants left-hander is only 23. But he's on his third consecutive Opening Day roster, has been a key part of two World Series championship teams and surpassed the 30-start and 200-inning marks in each of the past two years.

In April 2011, beginning Bumgarner's first full season in the bigs, he struggled to the tune of a 6.17 ERA. But he turned that around last season, sporting a 2.53 mark in April, and seems to have conquered early-season struggles. Although Spring Training stats can be deceiving, Bumgarner posted a 2.29 ERA this spring -- his best-ever Cactus League mark.

The young lefty also has fared well in games against his rival. He's 5-2 with a 2.98 ERA in eight career outings (seven starts) against the Dodgers.

Giants: Eye on Sandoval
Pablo Sandoval certainly looked healthy in Monday's opener, going 2-for-4, but the Giants intend to monitor the third baseman's right elbow through the season's early going. Sandoval has dealt with nerve irritation in the elbow since mid-March.

"This week will probably be a day-to-day type of thing," manager Bruce Bochy said of Sandoval's playing status.

• Twenty-one of the 25 players on the Giants' roster played on last year's team. The newcomers are right-hander Chad Gaudin, infielder Nick Noonan, catcher Guillermo Quiroz and outfielder Andres Torres, who on the Giants' 2010 World Series-winning squad.

Dodgers: Ethier's still out there
Monday was Andre Ethier's sixth Opening Day start in right field for the Dodgers, the most in Los Angeles history. His 959 games played in the outfield also are the third-most as a Los Angeles Dodger, trailing only Willie Davis (1,906) and Dusty Baker (1,092).

• Matt Kemp's .341 career April batting average is tied for the fifth-highest such mark since 1921.

Worth noting
• San Francisco's Marco Scutaro, who ended 2012 with a 20-game hitting streak, went 0-for-4 on Monday. That means the longest hitting streak in the Majors belongs to Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who went 1-for-2 to extend his streak to 16 games.

• Of Dodgers with more than career 10 at-bats against Bumgarner, only former Giant Juan Uribe (.273) has a batting average higher than .250 against him.

• Bumgarner only faced Los Angeles once last season, on Aug. 20, striking out 10 in eight shutout innings at Dodger Stadium. Comments