CHICAGO — Yasiel Puig was scratched from the Dodgers’ starting lineup minutes before the scheduled first pitch Wednesday night against the Cubs.
Puig has been dealing with a popped blister on his left hand, about the size of a half-dollar, since Monday.
The Dodgers have not officially commented on the reason why Puig was scratched.
Update (7:30 p.m.): Puig was scratched due to an open callus on his left hand, the team confirmed.
Alex Guerrero is now batting fifth and playing left field and Andre Ethier is playing right field.
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:
SAN DIEGO — Justin Turner isn’t starting at third base today against the San Diego Padres. Alberto Callaspo is.
That’s in keeping with Don Mattingly habit of resting Turner for a day game after a night game, and taking advantage of Callaspo’s ability to switch hit against a right-handed starter, James Shields. (Turner and Alex Guerrero both hit right-handed.)
There was a time not so long ago, around the time Juan Uribe was traded to the Atlanta Braves, that Guerrero and Turner were mentioned in the same breath as the Dodgers’ third basemen. But Turner has started 13 of 19 games since the last time Guerrero got a start at third. Callaspo has started the other six.
Guerrero has started nine games in left field during that span. But the return of right fielder Yasiel Puig, and the subsequent shift of Andre Ethier to left field, put an end to that.
Mattingly declared this arrangement official Sunday, naming Turner the team’s primary third baseman: