Javy Guerra was optioned to the Dodgers’ minor-league camp Sunday, the first of many cuts expected in the coming days.
When Adrian Gonzalez was traded to the Dodgers last August, no one could have known what that would mean for reliever Javy Guerra.
Gonzalez asked Guerra if he would join Team Mexico on Saturday after reliever David Hernandez was ruled ineligible and switched teams, from Mexico to the United States. Guerra readily accepted after getting permission from Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said.
It’s something he might not have been able to do without Gonzalez, the team captain for Mexico.
Dodgers right-hander Javy Guerra told the team on Saturday that he plans on playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
Once he’s added to the roster Guerra would join Dodgers teammates Luis Cruz and Adrian Gonzalez on the Mexican team. Cruz and Gonzalez are set to leave the Dodgers to begin training for the WBC tomorrow.
A curious chain reaction left an opening for a pitcher on Team Mexico. After Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez left Team USA due to injury, Arizona Diamondbacks reliever David Hernandez switched from Team Mexico to the United States squad, having been ruled ineligible to pitch for Mexico.
Further, Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo was scratched from a spring start with a strained groin, potentially leaving Mexico without one of its best starters for the tournament.
Guerra will pitch his regularly scheduled inning tomorrow for the Dodgers against the Cleveland Indians according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, who first reported the news.
Guerra was born in Texas, the son of Mexican parents. He has never pitched in the World Baseball Classic before.
“Chad, the ball’s coming out fine,” Honeycutt said. “He hasn’t missed any time other than just having a little bit of soreness in the calf from our running program. Arm-wise, it’s been very impressive.”
Billingsley hasn’t been limited in his throwing since spring began. Only two Dodgers pitchers have: Javy Guerra and Ted Lilly. Guerra had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder November 2. Lilly had the same procedure on his left shoulder Sept. 21.
“Ted, even though we’ve taken a little more conservative approach with his times on the mound,” Honeycutt said, “giving him two days in between — him and Javy Guerra — each time he’s been on the mound he’s been very good. Very solid.”
Maybe the biggest injury news is this: Kenley Jansen has been bothered by an ingrown toenail. Other than Scott Elbert, who had elbow surgery on Jan. 23 and is expected to miss opening day, the entire pitching staff is healthy one week into spring training. Knock on wood.
I didn’t include Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano or Ted Lilly on this list, even though one or more of them could wind up pitching out of the ‘pen. Even without them, this is a solid unit on paper with ample depth. The closer situation is fairly clear, but the Dodgers enter the season with more viable options for the ninth inning than they’ve had in recent seasons.
There are a few injury concerns facing this unit, but none are severe. With one exception, the Dodgers’ bullpen should start the season healthy, capable of becoming one of the best in the National League.
Update: Moylan confirmed that he’s joining the Dodgers via Twitter:
I’m also really looking forward to new opportunities with the @dodgers organization.
— Peter Moylan (@PeterMoylan) January 17, 2013
Reliever Javy Guerra underwent a 25-minute arthroscopic procedure on his right shoulder today, according to a team spokesperson. Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the surgery.
The procedure involved a cleanup of bursitis and the A-C joint that is at the top of the shoulder. Guerra will start his throwing program in six weeks and is expected to be competitive by spring training.
Guerra went 2-3 with eight saves and a 2.60 earned-run average last season. He lost his closer’s job to Kenley Jansen early in the season. Though often effective, Guerra was beset by a knee injury and an oblique injury that ultimately ended his season.
The Dodgers signed Brandon League to a three-year contract yesterday worth $22.5 million. General manager Ned Colletti envisions League closing, though ultimately that decision will fall to manager Don Mattingly. The value of League’s contract makes that seem like a straightforward decision — why pay a guy $7 million-plus to pitch the eighth inning? — but the decision on paper is closer than you might think.
For one thing, League is one of three pitchers who closed games for the Dodgers last year (three-and-a-half, if you include Ronald Belisario’s brief time co-closing with league in September). He, Belisario and Kenley Jansen are all high-strikeout power pitchers with a repertoire worthy of the role. Of course, if Jansen weren’t waiting in the wings at the time, the Dodgers might have continued to let Javy Guerra pitch through his early-season struggles; Guerra finished the season with eight saves and a 2.60 ERA. Arguably, that makes four capable closers in the Dodger bullpen. And while Guerra pitched his way out of the job, Jansen only lost the job because of a health setback.
Among that quartet, League has the most career saves (60). Want to guess how many active major-league pitchers have more? Thirty-seven. Experience isn’t everything — I would rather have League pitching the ninth inning in 2013 than, say, Jason Isringhausen — but the point is that Jansen (34 career saves), Guerra (29) and Belisario (3) aren’t that much less proven in the ninth inning than League.
So for today’s poll question, we give you the manager’s jersey and a baseball to hand to your closer of choice.
Right-handed reliever Josh Wall was recalled from for the third time this season from Triple-A Albuquerque and Javy Guerra was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique muscle strain retroactive to Sept. 3.
“He said it happened while he was warming up” before his last appearance on Sunday, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
The Dodgers needed to move Guerra to the disabled list because Wall had been optioned to Triple-A within the last 10 days.
Guerra tossed a scoreless inning on Sunday in his only appearance since being recalled from Albuquerque and has not allowed a run in his last 10 outings (12.1 IP) dating to July 28. Overall, Guerra is 2-3 with eight saves and a 2.60 ERA in 45 games with the Dodgers.
Wall is 1-0 with an 11.57 ERA in three relief appearances. Since being optioned Aug. 30, Wall has made two scoreless appearances, including picking up the save in Albuquerque’s division-clinching win over Omaha on Sunday. With the Isotopes, Wall was selected to the All-Pacific Coast League team after leading the circuit with 28 saves and going 2-1 with a 4.53 ERA in 55 games.
“Javy, I was using kind of as a replacement with Jamey Wright. He kind of stepped into more of a later-inning situation,” Mattingly said. “Javy could go multiple innings. So that changes that. We brought up John Ely, who can step into that role. Josh Wall is more of a power, one-inning guy, but he’s pretty durable. I think Josh can help us.”