Alex Guerrero hits grand slam as Dodgers pound Reds

Jon SooHoo | Dodgers

The second baseman's first extra-base hit of the spring came at an opportune time for the Dodgers.

GOODYEAR -- Dodgers second baseman Alex Guerrero had a series of firsts on Wednesday night as the Dodgers beat the Reds 10-3 at Goodyear Ballpark.

Playing for the seventh time in eight games, Guerrero drew his first walk of the Cactus League in the third inning against Reds starter Homer Bailey. Then two innings later with the bases loaded against non-roster invitee Jeff Francis, Guerrero unloaded with a shot over the bullpen in left field.

It was Guerrero's first extra-base hit of the spring, and gave the Dodgers a 4-2 lead.

"He seems to me more comfortable, and just more fluid in general. He's smoothing out a little bit. For me, early on, he was really rough, and stiff. He's gotten better," manager Don Mattingly said after the game. "With Alex we're going to try to play him as much as we can. We're going to keep getting him at-bats, but we have to keep seeing other people."

It's also worth noting that while the Dodgers may only have 11 days and 13 games left in the Cactus League, it's still relatively early to call the second base race. Both Guerrero and Dee Gordon - Wednesday's starter in center field - have played 26 innings at second base so far in games, and nobody on the team has more plate appearances than Guerrero's 18.

"We see a guy [in Guerrero] who hasn't played in a while. BP is a whole lot different than games," Mattingly said. "As you get back to playing every day, things come back to you more naturally."

The Dodgers like what they see in Guerrero, but he simply needs at-bats after not playing competitive baseball for roughly a year. He may still need time in the minor leagues before ultimately joining the team, but Wednesday at the very least provided a nice glimpse of the upside.

Up next

The Dodgers head east to Tempe on Thursday afternoon to battle the Angels. Dan Haren gets the start against his former team, facing C.J. Wilson for the Halos.

In addition to Yasiel Puig expected to start in the outfield on Thursday, Mattingly said that Andre Ethier would start at designated hitter against the Angels.

Wednesday particulars

Home runs: Alex Guerrero (1), Adrian Gonzalez (1)

WP - Hyun-jin Ryu (1-0): 4 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

LP - Jeff Francis (0-1): 2 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Sv - Matt Magill (2): 3 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

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