2/11/2014 5:07 P.M. ET
Guerra faces challenge earning spot in bullpen
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In what shapes up to be an unforgettable bullpen for the Dodgers, Javy Guerra is the forgotten man.
In 2011, he inherited the closer role from an injured Jonathan Broxton and had 21 saves. He came to Spring Training in 2012 as the closer, but had three injuries and two operations and lost the job to Kenley Jansen. In 2013, he made only nine Major League appearances.
In 2014, he's out of options and up against it as far as making a Dodgers bullpen again headed by Jansen, with former All-Star closers Brian Wilson, Chris Perez and Brandon League setting up. Lefties J.P. Howell and Paco Rodriguez are followed by long man Jamey Wright. If Josh Beckett is healthy, Paul Maholm will pitch relief. There doesn't even seem to be room for Chris Withrow, who was dominant at times down the stretch.
Meanwhile, Guerra either makes the Opening Day roster or can be lost on waivers. He said he's healthy and ready to win a job, regardless of the numbers.
"I understand who's in front of me," he said. "I'm competing for one spot with a lot of guys. The best will win. I hit it hard in the offseason. If I'm healthy, I can help the big league club. I can see myself being here. Mentally, I know I can perform."
Last year Guerra was asked to try starting at Triple-A Albuquerque, but that didn't work any better.
"Mentally, I didn't think the right way," he said. "I didn't understand why. It was a tough mental adjustment. Getting sent down was the defining moment of the season. Now I'm relieving again and comfortable. I've let it be known I'm serious in what I'm trying to accomplish. They realize I've grown up."
Gordon adds weight, ready to compete at second base
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Dee Gordon debuted in the Major Leagues in 2011, he weighed 144 pounds. He reported to camp early on Tuesday at an all-time high of 173.
How did he do that?
"I eat six meals a day," he said. "I've done this on my own. I just want to be stronger. I was nervous that it would slow me down, but I played in Puerto Rico and I saw that nothing happened to my speed. That was a relief. And I'm hitting the ball with more authority."
Gordon comes to camp with an outside chance of being the starting second baseman, competing with a lengthy list of candidates that includes Cuban Alex Guerrero, Justin Sellers, Chone Figgins, Justin Turner, Brendan Harris and Miguel Rojas.
"You know his speed can play," said manager Don Mattingly. "Can he make the everyday play and get on consistently to let his speed play? Inconsistency has been the biggest thing."
Two years ago, Gordon came to camp as the starting shortstop, after a dynamic debut in 2011 that led the Dodgers to trade away Rafael Furcal and clear a spot for the son of Tom "Flash" Gordon.
"I feel like I can be a good shortstop, but I can play a great second base," he said. "If they let me play, they'll have a good second baseman and a great hitter at the bottom of the order to set the table at the top."
In hindsight, the Dodgers believe they rushed Gordon, compounded by a bad thumb injury he suffered in 2012 when Hanley Ramirez was acquired and put Gordon's shortstop days in jeopardy. Gordon doesn't buy into the "rushed" theory.
"I thought I learned a lot coming into last year but this year, honestly, I can say I'm ready to play at a high level," he said. "I couldn't say that in 2012 or last year. I didn't do anything to make myself better. I wasn't ready to rise to the occasion and that was my fault. That won't happen again."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.