Dodgers call up Erisbel Arruebarrena, not Alex Guerrero

Dodgers prospect Alex Guerrero might have missed his chance Wednesday to make his major league debut.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

It could have been a huge day for infielder Alex Guerrero, one to remember for the rest of his life. Turns out it will be, just not like any ever imagined.

Guerrero had been on a tear for the Dodgers’ triple-A Albuquerque team, batting .600 (15 for 25) with six home runs in his last six games, but when Juan Uribe was placed on the disabled list Wednesday after aggravating a hamstring injury Tuesday night, Guerrero could not be summoned up to the majors.

Instead, he was in a Salt Lake City hospital, having what people close to the situation described as a significant part of his left ear reattached a day after it was allegedly bitten off by teammate Miguel Olivo during a dugout fight.

In place of calling up Guerrero and his .376 average from triple A, the Dodgers reached down to double-A Chattanooga to call up a .208-hitting shortstop.

The player the Dodgers brought up was Erisbel Arruebarrena, another recent Cuban refugee playing his first season of organized baseball in America.


Arruebarrena is known more for his glove than his bat, and the Dodgers said they wanted someone who could spell Hanley Ramirez at shortstop. Guerrero, who until recently had been playing second, was not discussed.

But by the time Uribe suffered the right hamstring injury running out a double in the ninth inning Tuesday night, Guerrero was already in the hospital having plastic surgery. Sources said he could be out a month and it was uncertain how well the blood flow would return to the ear to make the surgery effective.

The Dodgers had moved Guerrero from second to shortstop — his natural position — in his last two games. General Manager Ned Colletti said earlier the Dodgers were also considering having him play some third in an effort to get him back up to the majors.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers suspended Olivo indefinitely Wednesday while they continue to investigate the incident. Olivo, a 35-year-old catcher, was reportedly unhappy Guerrero had failed to catch his throw on a stolen-base attempt.

Ironically, in an interview with Telemundo this spring, Olivo was asked what he would be doing if he wasn’t playing baseball. His answer: “I would like to be a boxer like Mike Tyson but without biting an ear.”

Olivo has had temper flare-ups before. In 2007 while with the Florida Marlins, Olivo charged across the diamond to throw a punch at New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes that sparked a bench-clearing brawl. The next year, when Olivo was with the Kansas City Royals, he charged the mound and in another bench-clearing incident after Chicago White Sox reliever D.J. Carrasco hit him with a pitch.

Salt Lake City Police Det. Greg Wilking said that when officers spoke to Guerrero at the hospital, he declined to press charges against Olivo. Wilking said there are four years to file.

The Dodgers would not comment on the dugout incident Wednesday. They signed Guerrero to a four-year, $28-million contract last October. Four months later, they signed Arruebarrena to a five-year, $25-million deal.