Dodgers option Javy Guerra to minor-league camp.

Javy Guerra

Javy Guerra was optioned to the Dodgers’ minor-league camp Sunday, the first of many cuts expected in the coming days.

“He was a little bit behind when he got here because of all the stuff from the winter,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He never caught up and ran out of time. His last outing was his best … Javy’s a matter of time before he gets caught up to being himself.”

Guerra began 2012 as the Dodgers’ closer and ended the year by undergoing shoulder surgery in October. After pronouncing himself healthy, Guerra was invited to join Team Mexico for the World Baseball Classic earlier this month. He took the mandatory physical, then was told by MLB that he couldn’t pitch because of the WBC’s predetermined medical ineligibility standards — a tough break and an avoidable inconvenience.

The lousy spring continued when Guerra strained his groin and didn’t appear in a game between March 3 and 16. Guerra was effective when he was healthy, pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings while allowing two hits, no walks, and striking out two.

The move bodes well for three non-roster pitchers trying to earn a spot in the Dodgers’ bullpen — Mark Lowe, Kevin Gregg and Peter Moylan — as well as right-handers Shawn Tolleson and Josh Wall.

Mattingly said he’d like Guerra to become a long reliever, capable of pitching up to three innings, and will have a better opportunity to do so with more innings available in minor-league camp. “That will allow him to keep working on his mix of pitches,” Mattingly said.

Guerra had one item of business to check off his list first:

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