Manager Dave Roberts announced Monday that Kershaw, who's been battling shoulder issues throughout the spring, has been ruled out of the team's Opening Day contest March 28 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The decision ends Kershaw's franchise-record run of eight consecutive Opening Day starts that dated back to 2011. It was the second-longest active streak in the majors and would have become the longest active streak had he been healthy.
"Talking to Clayton and, obviously, looking at the schedule, he's not going to start Opening Day," said Roberts. "To build him up and when he's ready to pitch for us is when he's going to pitch for us. He's supportive and he understands he wants to put himself in the best position to help himself and the ballclub.
"When he's built up to where he feels he can help us, then it's moot. We're all on the same page."
Last year, Kershaw was limited to just 26 regular-season starts (and another six postseason appearances) due to recurring back problems in what was his second straight injury-shortened campaign. He posted a 2.73 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with 155 strikeouts and just 29 walks.
Buehler, meanwhile, had a breakout rookie campaign with the Dodgers last season (2.62 ERA, 3.04 FIP in 137 1/3 innings), including some fine work in the postseason. But a sore shoulder has set his spring back by a couple of weeks, Roberts explained.
"We're kind of honing in on it," the Dodgers skipper said of his club's Opening Day starter. "With the workload and the schedule, I don't see it being Walker. Now it's more of a process of elimination. We're not prepared to say who it is, but we're getting pretty close."
The last Dodger pitcher besides Kershaw to start a season opener was Vicente Padilla on April 5, 2010, in Pittsburgh.