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Monday, April 1, 2013 - Page updated at 07:00 p.m.

World Series champion San Francisco Giants to open against Los Angeles Dodgers | Baseball

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — It won't take long for the Los Angeles Dodgers to find out how their record payroll of about $230 million stacks up against baseball's elite.

They will test it out against the World Series champion San Francisco Giants on Monday, when former Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw makes his third straight opening-day start. Matt Cain will be on the mound for the Giants.

"They are definitely the team to beat," Kershaw said of the Dodgers' longtime rivals. "We can talk about it until we're blue in the face, but until we start winning some games and be in first place for the majority of the season, there's really not much we can say about it."

The Dodgers finished second to the Giants in the NL West last year.

"We're pretty excited to be playing against the World Series champs, and hopefully we can come out and play the game we know how to play," Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp said. "It is a rivalry, but that's more for the fans, not for us. We're just trying to beat every team out there."

Cain is excited to get an opening-day start.

"It'd be just as memorable if it was against anybody," he said.

The Giants enter the season with two World Series titles in three years, and they return their key players.

"I have to feel good about it because they did a good job last year; they did a great job," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "To have the same group back, sure, it's made it easier for us. We knew who we had and things they could do."

San Francisco won the season series 10-8 last year and knocked the Dodgers out of NL wild-card contention in the next-to-last game of the regular season.

The Dodgers' lineup will be missing a key component to start the season. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez, a .298 career hitter, is expected to miss about two months while recovering from surgery on his right thumb. Justin Sellers, who has batted .204 in 55 career games in the major leagues, will take his place.

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