UPDATE (April 1, 10:40 p.m. PT): Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after Friday’s loss he didn’t have a timetable on Alex Guerrero. Roberts did mention Guerrero “at this point is shut down, and now starts the rehab process.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers continued to receive mixed injury news during the home stretch leading up to Opening Day — April 4 — in San Diego. Corey Seager returned Thursday in the Freeway Series opener and played his scheduled five innings without issue.
Yasmani Grandal has made strides in his recovery from forearm soreness that have him on track to join the Dodgers and catch in Anaheim on Saturday. However, the same doesn’t hold true for Alex Guerrero, who last played in a game March 21.
“The immediate plan is for Alex to stay in Arizona,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He had an MRI and it showed minimal damage. We plan on having him open the season on the disabled list.”
Roberts expected to have a more official diagnosis of Guerrero’s knee following Thursday’s Freeway Series opener, however he only was able to provide minor details. “I know it’s not something of a tear where he needs surgery,” Roberts said.
“It’s more of rest and get on some type of anti-inflammatory to calm it down. All I know is it doesn’t warrant surgery. I think it’s either cartilage, the ligament or bone.”
Guerrero was saddled by left knee soreness throughout camp. At one stretch, he went nine days between appearances in Cactus League games due to the balky knee. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman previously remarked he didn’t believe Guerrero’s knee trouble was a long-term issue, though it was prior to the MRI.
The 29-year-old Cuban native batted .238/.238/.571 with one double, two home runs, two RBIs and four strikeouts in 21 plate appearances over nine games this spring. Outside of occasionally being used as a pinch-hitter or designated hitter, Guerrero exclusively played third base — by design.
Although Guerrero logged 29 games in left field last season, he also played 22 at third. It’s a position Los Angeles first tried him at last spring, with Guerrero proving to be serviceable.
He got off to a hot start in 2015, hitting .423/.429/1.077 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in April. However, he slowed down considerably after the first month of the regular season, batting just .207/.238/.347 with six home runs and 23 RBIs.
Given the depth and flexibility on the Dodgers roster this season, particularly with the group of infielders, Guerrero faced an uphill battle to crack the depth chart at any position. He was mentioned as a trade candidate during the offseason, though hurdles exist in moving him.
One clause in Guerrero’s contract prevents him from being optioned to the Minors without granting his consent. Another permits him to opt out after the season concludes in which he was traded.
It was reported last season Guerrero was at one point willing to waive the clause if financially incentivized and it led to more playing time. He has $10 million and two years remaining on his deal.