While the Los Angeles Dodgers had several expected regulars come Opening Day in their lineup for Thursday’s Cactus League opener against the Chicago White Sox, third base was an exception.
Justin Turner, who is recovering from offseason microfracture knee surgery, is likely to miss the first week of games as part of the club’s cautious handling with his recovery.
With a roster that features plenty of versatile infielders, the Dodgers figure to get Alex Guerrero, Kiké Hernandez, Howie Kendrick and Chase Utley time at third base throughout the spring and into the regular season.
Hernandez was the designated hitter on Thursday, with Kendrick starting at second base and batting leadoff. That left Guerrero to man third, where he grew quite comfortable last spring.
Behind two scoreless innings from Clayton Kershaw, and RBI singles from Yasiel Puig and Yasmani Grandal, the Dodgers sported an early 2-0 lead when Guerrero dug in for his first at-bat of the day against John Danks.
Guerrero jumped on the left-hander’s 2-0 offering, sending a towering shot that bounced off the fence beyond the Dodgers’ bullpen in left field:
Guerrero added a double in the sixth inning, finishing his first 2016 Cactus League game 2-for-3. The 29-year-old Cuban native is expected to exclusively play third base during Spring Training.
The Dodgers received contributions from Austin Barnes, Hernandez and Rob Segedin, coupled with solid relief appearances, to cruise to a 6-1 win. Los Angeles faces the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium on Friday.