Alexander Guerrero waiting on visa, still not cleared to play in U.S.

Gigantes del Cibao

Visa issues have the Dodgers waiting on their new Cuban infielder joining the team.

Wednesday marked the fourth of five days of the Dodgers winter development camp in Los Angeles, but one name absent among the various Dodgers prospects is Alexander Guerrero. The Cuban infielder, signed to a four-year $28 million deal in October, doesn't yet have a work visa from the government to play in the United States.

"We're working on getting his paperwork cleared to come here," said general manager Ned Colletti. "Hopefully he'll be able to get to the States here soon, and get to Glendale soon and start to work, and get acclimated to the country."

Guerrero hit .289/.325/.447 with three doubles and a home run with Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League, but was limited to just 12 games with a left hamstring injury. He hasn't played since December 12.

"He's battled a hamstring for a month off and on. We were in between letting him play through it and play every other day or something like that," Colletti said. "But we didn't want to run the risk and if it got more serious he'd lose time in February, so we basically took the conservative route."

When Guerrero is able to enter the U.S. - the Dodgers expect him relatively soon, but Colletti didn't want to speculate on something ultimately out of his control - he will likely head to the Dodgers complex at Camelback Ranch in Arizona for some extra infield work with Jose Vizcaino.

Miguel Rojas, who turns 25 in February, is at the Dodgers winter development camp and will go to Arizona next week to work with Vizcaino, whether he is joined by Guerrero or not. Colletti, like he has at various times this offseason, was again high on Rojas.

"He will get a good look. Miguel Rojas is an excellent defensive player. He's played more shortstop than he has any place else, but we're expanding that a little bit. We'll continue to expand it into the spring," Colletti said. "I think he's game for the situation and he wants the opportunity, and we're going to give him that chance."

Dee Gordon likely would have joined the infielders in Arizona next week but instead will remain in Puerto Rico in the winter league playoffs with Indios de Mayaguez.

Colletti said Guerrero is "leading the pack" if he had to choose a starting second baseman today even though the 27-year-old has barely played all winter. The team is still in search of adding an infielder, though Colletti said not necessarily a shortstop, citing Guerrero's versatility as well as a vote of confidence toward Gordon's chances of making the opening day roster.

"As we sit right now we've got Hanley, Guerrero, Dee, Justin Sellers. We've got Rojas. We've got three, if you're putting the team together today, on the 25-man roster who can play short, you've got a fourth on the 40-man, and a fifth who's going to get a great opportunity to play," Colletti said.

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