When Alex Guerrero signed a four-year, $28 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, high expectations were immediately placed on the infielder’s shoulders. Aside from the prospect of Guerrero being able to fill the need at second base, he’s Cuban — thus by default, his impact was expected to be on a similar level as Yasiel Puig’s.
Guerrero got off to a slow start with the Dodgers, hampered by injury and he eventually lost out to Dee Gordon in the competition to be the starting second baseman. Guerrero began the season in Triple-A with the Albuquerque Isotopes, plugging away at becoming better defensively.
Early on, the 27-year-old provided highlights here and there before appearing to turn a corner. Guerrero was hitting .415 in the Isotopes’ last 10 games and his play began to spark discussion of him making his way to the big league roster.
That thought came to a crashing halt when Guerrero was involved in an altercation with teammate Miguel Olivo that resulted in Guerrero needing plastic surgery to have a portion of his ear re-attached.
Olivo was subsequently released from the organization and Guerrero is now going through a complex recovery according to his agent, Scott Boras, reports the OC Register’s Bill Plunkett:
According to Boras, Guerrero spends three or four hours a day in a hyperbaric chamber, the increased oxygen promoting healing in the hopes that the skin graft takes. That is still in question, Boras said, and Guerrero is not allowed to do any activity that would involve too much movement or result in perspiration.
The incident may have cost Guerrero a call up, which went to Erisbel Arruebarrena out of Double-A when Juan Uribe was placed on the disabled list with a hamstring strain. A timetable has yet to be set for Guerrero’s return, though Boras indicated it may be a while:
It’s a long process. His recovery is still very much in the early stages,” Boras said after visiting Guerrero on Thursday. “It’s a day-to-day management thing at this point.”
Aside from not being able to be on the field, Guerrero’s inability to workout is particularly worrisome. The longer the recovery drags on, the more time the second baseman essentially spends doing nothing, which can be detrimental to a professional athlete’s conditioning.
Olivo’s actions may not only cost Guerrero a significant amount of this season, but he also may have washed away an opportunity for himself to re-join the Dodgers as A.J. Ellis was placed on the DL after spraining his ankle in the celebration for Josh Beckett’s no-hitter.
Given Olivo carries more pop in his bat without sacrificing much defensively, he likely would have been recalled ahead of Tim Federowicz. Such is life and now the Dodgers are relegated to a wait and see situation with their prized off-season signing.
Dodgers News: Miguel Olivo Bites Alex Guerrero’s Ear, Needs Surgery