Guerrero believes he can help contribute to Dodgers now
After spending most of '14 in Triple-A, infielder brings confidence to camp
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers like Alex Guerrero's offensive potential, but are still trying to determine if and where the infielder fits in the organization.
The 28-year-old will see action at second base, third base and in the outfield during Spring Training.
"This year is going to be a big year for him," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "I think No. 1, last year was asking a lot. Coming from another country that first year is a huge adjustment year as far as trying to learn the language, trying to learn a new position. Everybody is throwing stuff at him and everyone is trying to get him ready. He seems a lot more relaxed in camp this year."
The Dodgers signed Guerrero to a four-year, $28 million deal in October of 2013 and he was tentatively penciled in as the starting second baseman for the 2014 campaign. Instead, Guerrero played only 11 games in the Major Leagues and spent the majority of his time in the Minor Leagues, including 65 games at Triple-A Albuquerque.
"Last year for me was one where I gained a lot of experience, learned a lot of things I didn't know or didn't have any idea about," Guerrero said. "Things like the style of play, different rules, and customs they use here in the United States. I am a lot more familiar now with the game here."
Because of a clause in his contract, Guerrero cannot be optioned to the Minor Leagues without his permission after the first year of his deal. That means the Dodgers will have to keep him on the roster, trade him or cut him.
Justin Turner is on track to be the primary backup at second base, shortstop and third base. He can also play first base. Darwin Barney can also play multiple infield positions.
Guerrero could potentially serve as a right-handed hitter off the bench if he does not win a backup job.
"The team does not know what they are going to do, but all I can control is keep working hard and they will get the final word," Guerrero said. "I don't want to go down. I'm not going down. I feel like I can get better here at this level and play every day. I think that's what every player wants. You want to be in the Major Leagues and play as much as you can.
"I just want to keep working hard and let my work speak for me," Guerrero continued. "I'm just being told to keep working hard and I feel like I'm getting better every day."