Alex Guerrero grand slam boosts stock for Dodgers’ second base job

Dodgers infielder Alex Guerrero, second right, is congratulated by teammates Juan Uribe, left, and Adrian Gonzalez, second left, after hitting a fifth-inning grand slam in a Cactus League game against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

Maybe it’s a Cuban thing.

Alex Guerrero, who had only looked OK through the early going of spring, finally gave an indication why the Dodgers invested $28 million in him in the off-season when his grand slam Wednesday night sparked them to a 10-3 exhibition victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Then he flipped his bat.

Guerrero was four for 15 without an extra-base hit this spring when he delivered his bases-loaded homer in the fifth inning against Jeff Francis.


Fellow Cuban Yasiel Puig drew the ire of some last season with his own bat flips after home runs, but Puig apparently had other things to concern himself with Wednesday.

Puig, who grimaced during his swings and looked uncomfortable at bat, left the game to start the fifth inning. Puig has been bothered with a sore shoulder and was soon icing both of them in the clubhouse. He told reporters at Goodyear Ballpark, however, he left the game because his upper left back below the shoulder blade was sore. He said he expected to play Thursday.

Guerrero entered camp the leading candidate to be the starter at second base. But Guerrero, who was a shortstop in Cuba and did not play any baseball last season, appeared to be struggling at a new position in a new country. Meanwhile, Dee Gordon and Justin Turner were off to encouraging starts.

It seemed a real possibility that the 27-year-old Guerrero, who had done little to seize the job until Wednesday, would be starting the season in the minors. The blast at least puts him back in the competition to start at second.


The Dodgers also received a solo home run from Adrian Gonzalez as part of their 10-hit attack Wednesday.

Hyun-Jin Ryu started for the Dodgers and went four innings, giving up a pair of runs on four hits and two walks.