The Los Angeles Dodgers begin the game portion of their Spring Training schedule tomorrow afternoon and Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero will be in the lineup, hitting eighth and starting at second base.
Guerrero, 27, signed a four-year, $28 million contract with the Dodgers last October as the organization believed he could make the transition from shortstop to second base. However, leg injuries hampered his progression during winter ball and according to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com, it doesn’t sound like he’ll start the season in the big leagues:
Although Cuban Alex Guerrero was signed to a four-year, $28 million deal with the expectation it would be him, his slow adaptation from a natural shortstop position to second base makes it likely he will open the season in the Minor Leagues and the Dodgers will piece together a platoon at second base from a group of Dee Gordon, Chone Figgins, Brandon Harris, Justin Turner and Miguel Rojas.
Manager Don Mattingly floated the idea of a platoon a week or so ago and it figured to be comprised of Guerrero and Dee Gordon. A natural shortstop, the Dodgers believe Guerrero has a bat that can play immediately in the big leagues, but the slow transition to second base has the organization concerned.
Gordon bulked up over the off-season and during two stints in winter ball, played second base and the outfield. Justin Turner has played the bulk of his career at second base while Chone Figgins is looking to resurrect his career after not playing in a game last season. Brendan Harris likely has the longest of odds to make the team while Miguel Rojas is known for his glove, not his bat.
With a condensed Spring Training due to the Dodgers heading to Australia for the start of the season, the coaching staff won’t have the luxury of taking their time in deciding if he’s ready. Unless he proves himself in the next 19 games, it sounds like Guerrero will continue to learn second base in the minor leagues.
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