We knew that after Sunday's split squad games the Dodgers will trim down their roster, but one of the moves has been leaked. Relief pitcher Javy Guerra has been optioned to Albuquerque, first reported by Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
The move was confirmed after the game by the Dodgers, though that's more a matter of timing. Most of the cuts will happen after Sunday's games, since many of the players are playing in the two games. But Guerra pitched on Saturday, striking out both batters he faced in Surprise, so his day Sunday pretty much ended after morning workouts, after which he was given the bad news.
"With Javy it was just kind of a numbers game, more than anything else. He was a little bit behind when he got here because of all the stuff in the winter, and really has never caught up where he was getting regular work," said manager Don Mattingly. "He just ran out of time."
It's hard to call the move surprising, since Guerra was in fact optioned last August. But perhaps the timing of the move was a bit of a surprise, given that a year ago at this time Guerra was the team's closer. A demotion, two surgeries, and a near-World Baseball Classic experience later, and Guerra finds himself a part of what will likely be a stacked bullpen in Triple-A Albuquerque.
With Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario, J.P. Howell, and Matt Guerrier all locks for the bullpen, and one of the eight starting pitchers possibly occupying another relief role, that leaves one spot for which a number of pitchers are competing. Paco Rodriguez, Shawn Tolleson, and Josh Wall all have options, and non-roster invitees Kevin Gregg, Mark Lowe, and Peter Moylan are all vying for a spot as well. Having four, and possibly five, of those six pitchers (depending on whether Gregg or Lowe exercise their March opt-out clauses) join Guerra makes for a very talented Isotopes bullpen in Josh Suchon's first season behind the microphone.
"It's just a matter of time before he's built up to himself. We're going to try to stretch himself out a little bit down there," Mattingly said. "In the sense he'll be a National League long man, a two- or three-innings guy. We feel that will allow him to work on his mix of pitches."
What we do know is that Guerra won't be alone in getting bad news, as many players are expected to be cut. But for now, there are 47 players left in major league camp, including 10 non-roster invitees.
At least Guerra has a few days to deal with the demotion.