Dodgers Spring Training: Mattingly Envisions Guerrero As A Utility Man

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Over a year has passed since the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Cuban shortstop Alex Guerrero to a 4-year, $28 million contract. A natural second baseman, Guerrero was signed with visions of taking over at second base for the Dodgers, which was a position without a clearcut starter last spring.

However, Dee Gordon wound up taking hold of the position and Guerrero made the defensive shift a little more slowly than anticipated. As a result, he spent last season in the Minors and appeared to be on the verge of reaching the Majors until his season was derailed after
a fight with then-teammate Miguel Olivo
, which resulted in a part of his ear being bitten off.

Prior to and after the incident, Guerrero gained experience at multiple infield positions and in left field. He’s already seen time at third base this spring, and for the first time this year, played shortstop in Tuesday’s game.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly indicated Guerrero could develop into a utility man for the club, according to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA:

He looks comfortable. I know he came up as a shortstop then changed positions last year and moved all over,” manager Don Mattingly said. “He seems a lot more comfortable everywhere honestly this year, and that comfort is pushing us to give him a little more of a utility look.

Although Hanley Ramirez locked up the position at short last season and Jimmy Rollins has solidified the role this season, Guerrero could also see time at the position should he continue to develop into more of a utility player.

Hitting hasn’t been an issue in Guerrero’s career as he batted .333/.373/.621 in 77 games in the Minors last season and is hitting .450/.476/.600 in 11 Spring Training games (20 at-bats) this year.

Guerrero has made it clear that he refuses to accept any Minor League assignment this season. Serving as a utility man may not have been what the longtime shortstop saw for his career, but with Guerrero bolstering his resume with his defensive ability all around the field in addition to his offensive consistency, he may have paved himself a role on this deep Dodgers roster.


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