Dodgers’ Alex Guerrero is healthy. So why isn’t he starting in an American League park?

Alex Guerrero grand slam

Alex Guerrero isn’t in the starting lineup for the Dodgers’ first game this season in an American League park, where they can use a designated hitter. (Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, Texas — With Justin Turner promoted to everyday third baseman status, Alex Guerrero is arguably the best hitter remaining on the Dodgers’ bench.

Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo throws right-handed. Guerrero (a right-handed hitter) is slashing .286/.322/.655 in 90 plate appearances against right-handed pitchers this season.

Yet Alberto Callaspo is playing third base instead. Callaspo (a switch hitter) is slashing .250/.331/.310 against right-handed pitchers this season.

So why is Callaspo in the lineup and Guerrero isn’t?

“It came down to Adrian (Gonzalez) or (Guerrero). Really, once JT plays first, then it’s a matchup between Callaspo and Alex,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “If Alex, I felt, was a better matchup, I probably would’ve played him at third.”

Justin Turner is playing first base, while Adrian Gonzalez will get a day as the Dodgers’ designated hitter. Here’s the complete lineup:
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Game 63: A happy ending to a ‘sloppy series.’


SAN DIEGO — Joc Pederson‘s spectacular crashing catch, and Adrian Gonzalez‘s 12th-inning RBI single, ended a “sloppy series” on a high note for the Dodgers.

Before the game, Don Mattingly explained why Justin Turner seized the third baseman’s job ahead of Alex Guerrero.

The box score is here.

Game 61: The ordinary is extraordinary, the extraordinary is ordinary.

Yimi Garcia

Justin Turner and Yimi Garcia collided in the infield, letting Wil Myers’ pop-up fall with two outs in the seventh inning. An error was charged to Turner on the play. (Associated Press photo)

SAN DIEGO — The 2015 Dodgers are an interesting baseball team.

Clayton Kershaw struck out 11 batters in 6 ⅔ innings tonight. He got hit by a line drive. He gave up a home run to Clint Barmes, of all people. He threw more pitches than he’s thrown all season. This was a minor subplot.

(Watch Kershaw’s postgame interviews here.)

Alex Guerrero had one plate appearance. He fell behind 0-2, took a pitch in the dirt, then did something he’s done often enough this year to make you forget he’s a rookie, dumping a pinch-hit single into center field to win the game. Again: not the most compelling aspect of the Dodgers’ 4-3 win.

This is a team capable of making the extraordinary look completely ordinary, then turn around and look so fallibly human, like when Justin Turner and Yimi Garcia collided in the infield, A.J. Ellis ran the bases, and Adrian Gonzalez lost his cool:

Gonzalez talked about that quite a bit in my game story. The box score is here.

Paco Rodriguez has a bone spur in his left elbow. He’s hoping to postpone surgery until after the season is over.