Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Tag: Alex Guerrero (Page 1 of 4)

Alex Guerrero designated for assignment

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:05 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Joc Pederson, CF
Trayce Thompson, RF
Howie Kendrick, 3B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Scott Kazmir, P
Note: Yasiel Puig was a late scratch with a sore left hamstring.

By Jon Weisman

Two years and seven months after he was signed, Alex Guerrero has been designated for assignment by the Dodgers.

The 29-year-old Guerrero has spent the 2016 season on the disabled list because of a left knee contusion. With his minor-league rehabilitation assignment expiring and no place for him on the active roster, the Dodgers have removed him from the 40-man roster, with 10 days to determine his fate.

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What’s up, Trayce Thompson?

New York Mets vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Trayce Thompson follows through on his walkoff home run Tuesday against the Mets. Thompson’s career wRC+ is a robust 137 in 203 plate appearances.

By Jon Weisman

Trayce Thompson has almost nothing in common with Alex Guerrero, except for this: People wondering, like they did last May with Guerrero, if he’s for real.

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Farm Fresh: Tim Locastro hits for the cycle

Tim Locastro has collected at least two hits six times during his 13-game hitting streak. (Fernando Gutierrez Jr./MiLB.com)

Tim Locastro has collected at least two hits six times during his 13-game hitting streak. (Fernando Gutierrez Jr./MiLB.com)

By Jon Weisman

Over at Fangraphs, Carson Cistulli has a regular feature called “The Fringe Five,” which (in a shorthand definition) is dedicated to prospects that fall just outside of the spotlight of all the top rankings.

Minor-league Dodger infielder Tim Locastro has become something of a regular on this roundup. Here’s what Cistulli wrote about him five days ago:

Locastro made his first appearance among the Five last July, shortly after having been traded by the Blue Jays to the Dodgers — which transaction also led to his debut at High-A, thus rendering him eligible for consideration here. Here were Locastro’s credentials at that time: he’d carried a strikeout rate below 10%, exhibited at least average power on contact, posted impressive baserunning numbers, and recorded the majority of his defensive starts at either second base or shortstop. A month through the 2016 season, here are some statements one might employ to characterize the 23-year-old now: he’s got a strikeout rate below 10%, is exhibiting at least average power on contact, is posting impressive baserunning numbers, and has recorded the majority of his starts at either second base or shortstop. He’s been particularly impressive of late. Regard: in 28 plate appearances from April 28 through May 3, Locastro recorded a 5:1 walk-to-strikeout ratio and five extra-base hits, including a home run. None of which is to recognize how he was drafted out of Division III Ithaca College.

Fringe or not, Locastro is generating headlines. In the midst of a 13-game hitting streak, on Tuesday he hit for the cycle for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, as Tyler Maun of MiLB.com reports:

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Dave Roberts knows .500 isn’t good enough

LOS ANGELES DODGERS V NEW YORK METS

Mets at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Alex Wood, P
Note: Alex Guerrero is beginning a rehab assignment tonight with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

By Jon Weisman

If you’re wondering whether the Dodgers are content to be in first place in their division with a .500 record, the answer is no.

“We’re not playing great baseball,” Dave Roberts said this afternoon. “I think for the most part we’re catching the baseball, but for the pitching and hitting to sync up, we’re still waiting for that to happen.”

The debate about the Dodgers that’s happening right now around town and on social media is which of their two seemingly irreconcilable identities is true. Are they a first-place team, or are they a squad that loses at least as much as it wins?

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Dodgers hold team meeting before batting practice

Padres at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Joc Pederson, CF
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

In the wake of their four-game losing streak, the Dodgers held a closed-door meeting at 3:30 p.m. in the clubhouse that Dave Roberts said essentially addressed the same issues he brought up after Thursday’s game.

“You just got to get back to the fundamentals and trying to play clean, crisp baseball and play every pitch,” Roberts said. “I think that there are signs of that. … Whether we’re winning games or not winning games, I still think there’s a process that needs to be in place, and you just don’t want things to get away from you. So right now, it’s kind of hit the reset button a little bit.”

Among other issues, Roberts has the sense that Dodger batters are pressing at the plate.

“You know, it’s funny — I think it’s just guys are trying too hard,” he said. “And you hear it all the time when guys aren’t swinging well, that guys want to do it so bad, it’s a little bit, ‘Try a little less hard.’ Because guys just start swinging the bat, and you start coming out of the strike zone.”

One thing not addressed in today’s meeting was the 80-game suspension of former Dodger infielder Dee Gordon that was announced late Thursday. Reaction to that news is amply covered at a number of sites, but Roberts echoed the feeling of many.

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Alex Guerrero to begin season on disabled list

IMG_3549

Angels at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kiké Hernandez, CF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Chase Utley, 2B
A.J. Ellis, C
Corey Seager, SS
Scott Kazmir, P

By Jon Weisman

As the Dodgers returned home from their wanderings in the desert, they took another step toward finalizing their Opening Day roster — with other steps remaining to go before Saturday morning deadline.

Dodger manager Dave Roberts said that Alex Guerrero remains at Camelback Ranch and will begin the season on the disabled list

“He had an MRI that showed minimal damage, but now we at least understand the discomfort and the pain he’s having in his knee,” Roberts said. “I really don’t know what the specifics were — I talked to the training staff, and whatever verbiage they used, it kind of validated some of the pain he’s been having.”

In other developments:

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In case you missed it: Ex-Dodger moves forward from tragedy

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Reds at Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Carl Crawford, LF
Trayce Thompson, CF
Chase Utley, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, RF
A.J. Ellis, C
Rob Segedin, 1B
Austin Barnes, 2B
Charlie Culberson, SS
Kenta Maeda, P

By Jon Weisman

I hope you don’t have to read a tougher story than this today: Former Dodger reliever Javy Guerra spoke to J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News about the twin horrors of losing his brother and sister in the past two years.

Here’s what’s happening around the Dodgers …

  • Zach Lee held serve in his challenge with Carlos Frias to start in the first week of the 2016 season. In the Dodgers’ 5-4 victory Saturday over the White Sox, Lee (pitching 4 2/3 innings) got two more outs than Frias, but allowed two more runs. Oddly, Lee had no walks or strikeouts.
  • Wrote Ken Gurnick of MLB.com: “Some will speculate that because Frias faced the Giants recently, Lee will get that first start, rather than have Frias face the same hitters again. San Francisco’s lineup Friday night included Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford.”
  • Under the radar, Kiké Hernandez (hit by a pitch near his oblique Sunday), Alex Guerrero (knee) and Yimi Garcia (knee) have gone days without playing as they try to let various sore spots heal.
  • However, Gurnick indicates that Corey Seager is nearing a return to Major League action after playing defense in a minor-league game Saturday.
  • Scott Kazmir’s abdominal issues weren’t abominable – it turns out, they were cramps.
  • Prospect watchers got a thrill when 20-year-old Cody Bellinger and 21-year-old Willie Calhoun hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning off MLB veteran Dan Jennings. Each player reached base twice in the game.
  • Justin Turner walked, doubled and singled in his three plate appearances, and now has a Cactus League on-base percentage in the .700 club.
  • Play-by-play announcer Joe Davis is not only spending his first season with the Dodgers in 2016, he and his wife Libby are having their first baby this summer. Congrats!
  • It was Dodger Pride night Saturday at Staples Center with the Kings.

With Ethier sidelined, who gains a roster spot?

Photos by Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Photos by Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Roster move: The Dodgers have reassigned non-roster reliever Matt West to minor-league camp. The Dodgers have 41 active players remaining in big-league camp.

By Jon Weisman

On this last Wednesday without baseball until the All-Star Break, let’s consider the domino effect of Andre Ethier’s fractured leg, which not only opens up a spot in the Dodger starting lineup but also the bench.

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In case you missed it: Utley’s suspension canceled

Chase Utley works out on February 29. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Chase Utley works out on February 29. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Indians at Dodgers, 12:05 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Corey Seager, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Trayce Thompson, RF
Rob Segedin, 3B
Shawn Zarraga, DH
Charlie Culberson, 2B
(Alex Wood, P)

By Jon Weisman

Chase Utley spoke to reporters today about MLB rescinding his two-game suspension for his hard slide into Ruben Tejada at last year’s National League Division Series.

“At the end of the day, I believe that he believes the slide was not an illegal slide,” Utley said, according to Bill Plunkett of the Register.

Utley also spoke about Tejada, according to Doug Padilla of ESPN.com.

“I can’t say enough how terrible I felt for Ruben,” Utley said. “I had no intent to hurt him whatsoever. If anybody thinks I did, they’re completely wrong.”

Bill Shaikin and Mike DiGiovanna of the Times reported Sunday that the suspension would be withdrawn by MLB, which last month revised its rulebook about plays at second base.

… Tejada, vulnerable because his back was turned toward Utley, suffered a fractured right fibula and was sidelined for the rest of the playoffs. In announcing the suspension for what an MLB statement called an “illegal slide,” (MLB chief baseball officer Joe) Torre cited Utley for a “rolling block … away from the base.”

However, such a slide was not explicitly outlawed until Feb. 25, when MLB adopted a new rule to protect middle infielders on slides into second. As a result, Torre said Sunday, the league might have faced difficulty upholding the suspension via an appeal hearing.

“I think it would have been an issue,” Torre said. “There wasn’t anything clear-cut to say that play violated a rule.”

Torre said the priority for the league was not in pursuing a suspension of Utley but in revising the rules to enhance player safety. …

Here are some more pregame news and notes …

  • Howie Kendrick was going to make his first Spring Training start at third base today, but he was a late scratch because of right groin soreness. For the second time in three days, Shawn Zarraga was called upon to serve as emergency designated hitter, with Rob Segedin taking the start at third.
  • Carl Crawford confirmed to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that he has been told he will begin the season as a reserve left fielder behind Andre Ethier.
  • Gurnick rounds up some more health updates, including two innings of live batting practice by Julio Urias and the resumption of Hyun-Jin Ryu’s throwing program after a week off.
  • Also, Ethier has a right-hand contusion but was able to continue most baseball activities today, while Alex Guerrero is also back at it and is a candidate to start at designated hitter on Tuesday.
  • Micah Johnson spoke to Padilla about his bid to carve out playing time for himself at what’s become a crowded second base for the Dodgers.
  • SportsNet LA’s Alanna Rizzo was among those to speak with Richard Deitsch of SI.com in this comprehensive story about safety issues facing female sports reporters.
  • The story of Clayton Kershaw’s Public Enemy No. 1 is introduced from the point of view of the batter, Sean Casey, in this Anthony Castrovince story for Sports on Earth.
  • UCLA unveiled a Jackie Robinson statue on campus Sautrday, writes Chad Thornburg of MLB.com. In December, the Dodgers announced plans for their own Robinson statue at Dodger Stadium this year.
  • Tom Knight, a preeminent Brooklyn baseball historian, is remembered in this obituary by Bruce Weber for the New York Times.

In case you missed it: Wright, De Leon don’t mind the gap

By Jon Weisman

Jamey Wright, born in 1974, pitched the fifth inning for the Dodgers today.

Jose De Leon, born in 1992, pitched the sixth inning for the Dodgers today.

As wide as that age gap was, both could feel pleased with their performances.

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Yasiel Puig’s 96 mph fastball — from right field

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Just how strong is Yasiel Puig’s arm?

This week at MLB.com, MLB Statcast analyst Mike Petriello wrote about the top outfield arms in baseball. His methodology in brief appears at the end of this post. I followed up by asking Statcast for some numbers specific to the Dodgers, and here’s what I got:

  • 96.0 mph — Yasiel Puig
  • 90.8 mph — Joc Pederson
  • 90.5 mph — Scott Van Slyke
  • 88.5 mph — Alex Guerrero
  • 88.2 mph — Kiké Hernandez
  • 87.7 mph — Andre Ethier
  • 79.7 mph — Carl Crawford

Puig was 2.6 mph behind Houston’s Jake Marsinick, the top outfield arm in the Majors. Here’s a 99.4 mph throw that Puig made at Houston in August:

[mlbvideo id=”404268183″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

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Seager’s blast lifts Dodgers to rookie homer record

[mlbvideo id=”488582183″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

By Jon Weisman

Corey Seager’s fourth-inning home run tonight was the 47th by a Dodger rookie this year, setting a franchise record.

Dodger rookies who have homered this year include Joc Pederson (25), Alex Guerrero (11), Kiké Hernandez (6), Scott Schebler (3) and Seager (2).

The previous record was shared by the 1960 Dodgers — Frank Howard (23), Tommy Davis (11), Norm Sherry (8), Willie Davis (2), Bob Aspromonte (1), Doug Camilli (1) — and the 1958 Dodgers — John Roseboro (14), Dick Gray (9), Joe Pignatano (9), Don Demeter (5), Norm Larker (4), Ron Fairly (2), Frank Howard (1), Bob Lillis (1), Stan Williams (1).

Seager’s homer gave the Dodgers a 4-1 lead, one they extended to 6-1 in the seventh. That was mighty fine for Zack Greinke, who retired 11 batters in a row after allowing a fourth-inning homer to Pirates second baseman Neil Walker. Greinke himself sacrificed, singled and doubled (and scored) in three plate appearances tonight, raising his batting average to .234.

Update: Greinke left the game after allowing a single and walk to start the eighth. With one out, Starling Marte singled home a run off Chris Hatcher, raising Greinke’s ERA from 1.60 to 1.65. But Hatcher got a huge out by getting Andrew McCutchen to foul out, and when Aramis Ramirez grounded out, the Dodgers retained a 6-2 lead.

Update 2: Kenley Jansen closed out the victory with a four-batter save, lowering the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the National League West to nine. In San Francisco, Madison Bumgarner gave up two runs (one earned) in eight innings and left trailing, 2-0. The Giants had one inning left to rally.

Update 3: San Francisco lost, reducing the Dodgers’ magic number to eight with 16 games to play.

‘Weird’ lineup features youngest Dodger cleanup hitter in more than 50 years

Colorado Rockies vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Austin Barnes, 2B
Chase Utley, 1B
Justin Ruggiano, LF
Corey Seager, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Alex Guerrero, 3B
Chris Heisey, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

Even by the Dodgers’ ever-fluctuating standards, this is not the usual starting lineup.

Don Mattingly himself called it “weird,” and said he knew it would be that way by the time he left Dodger Stadium and the 16-inning marathon behind in the wee hours of the night. Among others, Mattingly was looking to rest Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner, who each played the entire game. And the Dodgers are still battling several injuries, including players not on the disabled list such as Scott Van Slyke and Jose Peraza.

Let’s take a look at tonight’s lineup, one through nine:

  • Austin Barnes, 2B: Taking it from the top, this is the 25-year-old catcher’s first MLB game batting leadoff or at second base. In the minors, Barnes has played 150 games at second base, though none since 2014. He is the first Dodger to play catcher, third base and second since Trent Hubbard in 1998-99, and the first to do it in the same season since Derrel Thomas in 1980. Barnes’ RBI single Tuesday lifted his on-base percentage as a Dodger to .375 in 25 plate appearances.
  • Chase Utley, 1B: In 13 seasons, the 36-year-old Utley has 31 career games (24 starts) at first base, most recently August 10 for the Phillies at Arizona. In 220 1/3 innings, he has been charged with one error.
  • Justin Ruggiano, LF: Ruggiano has become a familiar face in left field, and has a .393 OBP/.846 slugging percentage in 28 plate appearances as a Dodger, even after following his leadoff double Tuesday with six consecutive outs. But this is only his 11th career start as a No. 3 hitter, and first since April 9, 2014 for the Cubs against Pittsburgh.
  • Corey Seager, SS: Seager is batting cleanup in his 13th Major League game. Other Dodgers, most recently Yasiel Puig, Scott Van Slyke and even John Lindsey, have batted cleanup sooner, but the Dodgers haven’t had a starting cleanup hitter younger than Seager (21 years, 142 days) since Derrell Griffith (20 years, 294 days) in 1964. Before Griffith, there wasn’t a younger starting Dodger cleanup hitter since Duke Snider in 1947. With Jimmy Rollins still unable to play defense for several days, Seager will continue to see action.
  • A.J. Ellis, C: Ellis’ start in the No. 5 slot Tuesday was his first in nearly two years. He hasn’t started back-to-back days as a No. 5 hitter since May 14-15, 2013.
  • Alex Guerrero, 3B: Guerrero, who has a single, double and walk in seven plate appearances this month, is starting at third base for the 14th time this year and first time since August 8 at Pittsburgh.
  • Chris Heisey, RF: Ruggiano, Seager and Heisey (who had RBI in the seventh and 11th innings Monday) were the only three Dodgers to play all 16 innings. None was in the organization three weeks ago.
  • Joc Pederson, CF: Pederson, who had reached base in nine consecutive starts before going 0 for 2 Monday, has played 87 percent of the Dodgers’ innings in center field this year. Only Gonzalez (90 percent) has a higher percentage of the team’s innings at one position in 2015.
  • Alex Wood, P: In Wood’s Major League debut on May 30, 2013, he batted third, entering the game in Justin Upton’s slot in a ninth-inning double switch.

Shoulder sidelines Yasmani Grandal

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Reds, 4:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Chase Utley, 2B
A.J. Ellis, C
Kiké Hernandez, CF
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

Yasmani Grandal is not expected to start before Thursday at the earliest because of an ailing left shoulder, Don Mattingly told reporters today.

Grandal is third on the Dodgers with 140 weighted runs created (wRC+), but he is 3 for 30 with five walks and no extra-base hits in his past 35 plate appearances. Mattingly said there is worry the shoulder condition is altering Grandal’s swing.

The 26-year-old catcher isn’t expected to go on the disabled list, especially with rosters expanding one week from today. But it will mean more work than usual for A.J. Ellis, who is quietly posting his best averages at the plate (.356 on-base percentage, .360 slugging percentage) since 2012.

The Dodgers need improvement from several players as they look to win their first game since August 16. During the current five-game losing streak …

  • Justin Turner is 1 for 18 with two walks and two errors.
  • Jimmy Rollins has a single, double and homer in 22 plate appearances.
  • Adrian Gonzalez has four singles and a walk in 20 plate appearances.
  • Scott Van Slyke, Carl Crawford and Alex Guerrero are a combined 1 for 28 with one walk.

Rollins’ third-inning home run six days ago at Oakland is the Dodgers’ most recent four-base hit.

https://twitter.com/DodgerInsider/status/636271626946940928https://twitter.com/DodgerInsider/status/636274568764657664

Alex Wood, who takes the mound today for the Dodgers, has been charged with exactly three runs on five hits with three walks in each of his past three starts.

Mat Latos pitched a five-inning simulated game Monday, and is scheduled to start Saturday against the Cubs, with Brett Anderson, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw taking the starts between now and then.  Juan Nicasio, as noted Monday, has been activated from the disabled list.

 

Is Alex Guerrero up there swinging? Check out his homer-walk ratio

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Dodgers at Phillies, 4:05 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Brett Anderson, P

By Jon Weisman

Just out of curiosity, I took a look at Baseball Reference to see if the Dodgers had ever had a player hit double-digit homers in a season without having double-digit walks. Sure enough, Alex Guerrero has a chance to be the first.

Guerrero has 11 homers and five walks this year. The fewest walks by any Dodger with at least 10 homers belong to Glenn Wright, who had 11 homers and 12 walks in 1932.

Marquis Grissom is the lone Dodger this century to hit at least 10 homers in a season and have more homers than walks: 21 homers, 16 walks in 2001.

The only other Dodger to fit this description is Don Demeter, who had 18 homers and 16 walks in 1959. Raul Mondesi had 16 homers and 16 walks in 1994, as well as 30 homers and 30 walks in 1998.

If you think Guerrero’s numbers are unusual, just keep this in mind: He’s no Todd Greene. With the Texas Rangers, Greene had 10 homers and two walks — twice. First in 2002, then again in 2003.

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