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'Comfortable' Alex Guerrero adds shortstop to utility belt

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers gave Alex Guerrero a look at shortstop on Tuesday against the Rangers, the first time the infielder turned utility man has played the position this spring.

Guerrero pinch ran for Jimmy Rollins in the fifth inning, then played the final five innings at shortstop on Tuesday against Texas. It was a position he played in Cuba, but he moved to second base after coming to the United States.

"He looks comfortable. I know he came up as a shortstop then changed positions last year and moved all over," manager Don Mattingly said. "He seems a lot more comfortable everywhere honestly this year, and that comfort is pushing us to give him a little more of a utility look."

Guerrero caught one line drive and handled two ground balls hit in his direction, including the assist on a force out at second base on the final play of the game.

Guerrero did play seven minor league games at shortstop in 2014, including May 20 for Triple-A Albuquerque, when an argument about Guerrero's defense led to teammate Miguel Olivo biting a portion of Guerrero's ear off in the dugout. That sidelined Guerrero for two months and effectively derailed his season.

The Dodgers are in a weird spot with Guerrero. They have starters lined up all over the infield and outfield, and they have Guerrero with $14 million and three years left on his contract, with a unique provision that says he can't be sent to the minors anymore without his consent.

Guerrero has stated he has no intention of going back to the minors, and to date in camp is playing like someone who belongs. He has worked hard at two different positions - third base and left field - trying to at least become passable enough with the glove to be able to carry his bat.

So far in the spring he is 9-for-20 (.450) with a home run and a walk. He singled in three at-bats on Tuesday.

He hasn't yet played second base in a Cactus League game this year, but he played 54 games there in the minors in 2014 and the team has a good idea of how he looks there.

The key word people around Guerrero have used is comfortable in his second big league camp compared to his first.

"We're happy with the way he's looking at third. He's been good in left. At second we haven't seen him that much, but he's comfortable there," Mattingly said. "He's been taking a lot on but he seems so much more comfortable all over the place."