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Aug 11, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Javy Guerra (54) throws against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

From Closer to the Minors: Can Javy Guerra Work His Way Back?

The Dodgers have far too many pitchers as of right now, so it wasn’t completely surprising that the Dodgers would have to make some hard decisions as the new season quickly approaches. Javy Guerra, the Dodgers’ successful closer of the 2011 season, has been optioned to the Minors. Ever since Javy was hit in the face with a Brian McCann line drive last season, a slew of injuries have essentially cost him a spot on the Major League roster for now. Guerra had knee surgery, strained his oblique, underwent shoulder surgery, and just recently suffered a groin strain. Javy’s hard luck streak coupled with the Dodgers’  need to hang on to Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, and maybe even Aaron Harang in the bullpen along with the offseason signings of new Dodger closer Brandon League and lefty J.P. Howell hasn’t left Javy a spot on the team right now.

 

Javy Guerra has not been the same ever since he was hit in the face with a line drive last season. Photo: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Javy Guerra was promoted in 2011 from AA-Chattanooga out of desperation when Jonathan Broxton was injured and essentially done as the Dodgers’ closer. Guerra was impressive as the impromptu closer, and he saved 21 games for the Dodgers that year. Last season despite the injuries, Guerra appeared in 45 games for the Dodgers and had a 2.60 ERA. In his two seasons at the Major League level with the Dodgers, the 27-year old has a 2.45 ERA over 91 2/3 innings pitched. Don Mattingly explained that Javy just wasn’t ready physically. He will most likely find himself in the bullpen in AAA-Albuquerque which will actually have a pretty strong relief squad come Opening Day. If the Dodgers eventually send one or more of their extra starting pitchers to another team via trade, Javy may be able to work his way back into the pen.

So far the relief pitchers who will definitely be in the Dodger bullpen are : Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario, and J.P. Howell. The Dodgers will also need to keep Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang, and Chris Capuano if they don’t trade them before April 1st. Other pitchers vying for a spot on the team are: Matt Guerrier, Josh Wall, Shawn Tolleson, Paco Rodriguez, and non-roster players like Kevin Gregg, Peter Moylan, and Mark Lowe.

The Dodgers also sent Juan Abreu, the right-handed pitcher, to Minor League camp on Sunday.

More tough decisions loom for the Dodgers as they begin to whittle down the roster. Javy Guerra’s fall seems pretty far. Much like Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, Javy will have to work and battle the odds in order to win one of the coveted spots on the team again. Or perhaps he had his moment and it has passed? Do you think Javy Guerra will return to form? Let us know in the comments.

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