With the start of the regular season less than two weeks away, the battle at second base appears to be leaning in Dee Gordon’s favor. Whether that means Gordon will be the sole starter or part of a platoon remains to be seen. However, what’s looking likely is that Alex Guerrero won’t be the sole starting second baseman. Though Guerrero has put together a respectable spring, hitting .250 with one home run and six RBI, the Cuban infielder may be headed for the minors, which he recently stated he would accept.
On Monday, Guerrero and Matt Kemp, who’s getting closer to a return, participated in a minor league intrasquad game. According to Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, the reason for Guerrero’s appearance in intrasquad games is it provides the most opportunities for him to play:
Mattingly on Guerrero in the intrasquad game: "Just where the at-bats are. Gets him on the field everyday" Unlikely he starts at 2B.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) March 10, 2014
Entering Spring Training Guerrero was believed to be at or near the top of the list of candidates to start at second base. While the natural shortstop hasn’t necessarily done anything to remove himself from consideration, Dee Gordon has put together a solid spring, including going 8-for-8 in stolen base attempts. After Monday, the Dodgers have just seven Spring Training games remaining before they depart for Australia.
Should Guerrero not be named the starter, he conceivably could still make the team as a bench player since the Dodgers lost utility players Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker to free agency and Jerry Hairston, Jr. to retirement. Guerrero could help fill the void, but arguably the best course of action would be for him to begin the season in Minor Leagues.
Similar to the Dodgers handling of Yasiel Puig last year, keeping Guerrero in the minors at the start of the season would give him more everyday opportunities than he would currently see at the big league level. Thus, once the time comes for Guerrero to make his MLB debut, he would hopefully be more comfortable with the pace and intricacies that come with playing the game.
ICYMI: Here’s our Dodgers Nation Week In Review Video