Javy Guerra's trying year ends with shoulder surgery

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

The Dodgers' relief pitcher can begin his offseason throwing program in six weeks and is expected to be ready for spring training.

Javy Guerra concluded his rough year on Friday as the right-hander underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder, the Dodgers announced. The 25-minute procedure, performed by team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache, involved a cleanup of bursitis and the A-C joint at the top of the shoulder.

The Dodgers say Guerra can begin his offseason throwing program in six weeks, and is expected to be ready by spring training.

Guerra on the surface had a 2012 season that wasn't all too different from 2011:

  • 2011: 195 batters faced, 12 runs allowed, two home runs, 17 unintentional walks, 38 strikeouts, 2-2, 2.31 ERA, 160 ERA+
  • 2012: 196 batters faced, 13 runs allowed, one home run, 18 unintentional walks, 37 strikeouts, 2-3, 2.60 ERA, 147 ERA+

But Guerra's second year in MLB was far different than his rookie season, when he grabbed hold of the closer role and never let go. His 2012 campaign was filled with pain, and suffering.

In a three-week span in late April and early May, Guerra blew three saves, suffered another loss, and gave up the go-ahead runs in the ninth inning of another game that the Dodgers rallied to win. That included a loss on Apr. 25 against the Braves during which he was hit in the face by a line drive, one of five consecutive hits he allowed.

Guerra was demoted from the closer role in early May, and one month later was placed on the disabled list with a right knee injury suffered while trying to contort his body out of the way of the Brian McCann line drive that struck Guerra in the jaw. Guerra had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and missed 30 games.

After his return, Guerra settled into a groove that included nine straight scoreless appearances from July 28 to Aug. 18. In 11⅓ innings during that span, Guerra had 13 strikeouts and four walks to go with his 0.00 ERA, but thanks to two walks in an appearance — again, against Atlanta — on Aug. 18, Guerra was demoted to Triple A Albuquerque three days later.

Guerra was back when rosters expanded on Sept. 1, but to top off his hard-luck season he pitched just one game — a scoreless inning against the Diamondbacks — before getting hurt again. Guerra was placed on the disabled list with a strained left oblique on Sept. 4 and didn't pitch again the rest of the way.

Maybe 2013 will be a better, and healthier, year for Guerra.

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