Manager Andy Green made the announcement Sunday and said he chose to start Lauer in the opener as his normal day to pitch falls on Thursday. Left-hander Joey Lucchesi will be up next in the rotation, Green said.
“We don’t feel like anybody has run away or earned that start in the traditional sense of what Opening Day means,” Green told reporters, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. “So we just set ourselves up for what we thought was best rest for the guys who need rest and set our rotation up the way we wanted to and took the Opening Day hoopla out of the equation.”
Lauer, 23, has been exceptional this spring and hasn’t allowed a run in 10 innings pitched. Lucchesi, 25, has a 3.21 ERA in 14 innings pitched.
“It definitely was not a ‘This guy deserves this honor, this guy doesn’t deserve it,'” Green said, according to the Union Tribune. “We took the honor out of the equation and just said, ‘This is how we want to line it up.’ … We told both of them, ‘Nobody has earned this in this clubhouse — the honor that comes along with Opening Day.’ That’s not disrespecting either one of them. They both had nice rookie seasons.”
Lauer was 6-7 with a 4.34 ERA in 23 starts last season. Lucchesi was 8-9 with a 4.08 ERA in 26 starts.