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02/20/07 9:57 AM ET

Lowe named Opening Day starter

Right-hander gets the nod for third consecutive season

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Derek Lowe will be the Dodgers' Opening Day starter for the third consecutive year, manager Grady Little announced on Tuesday morning.

The Dodgers are scheduled to open the regular season on April 2 in Milwaukee.

Little said internal debate continues regarding the order in which Lowe will be followed, based on the way the pitchers and opposing clubs match up. Brad Penny and newcomers Jason Schmidt and Randy Wolf are confirmed in the rotation, while there is a scramble for the fifth spot that involves Brett Tomko, Mark Hendrickson, Chad Billingsley and Hong-Chih Kuo, among others.

Little said the fifth starter will probably be skipped once in the first two weeks of the season because of days off.

Lowe went 16-8 with a 3.63 ERA in his second season as a Dodger in 2006. The nine-year veteran was the losing pitcher on Opening Day of '06, allowing seven earned runs in five innings to Atlanta in an 11-10 loss. The 33-year-old was also the losing pitcher in his Dodgers debut on Opening Day of 2005, being outdueled by future teammate Schmidt and the Giants in a 3-2 loss.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.