GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Cuban prospect Alexander Guerrero is comfortable with his manager saying a platoon at second base is a possibility.
"No problem," Guerrero said through an interpreter. "It's fine as long as I'm continuing to work on making the adjustment."
Guerrero, whom the Dodgers signed to a four-year, $28 million contract in October, is in camp trying to prove he can be the Dodgers' everyday second baseman. manager Don Mattingly likes his chances. But the move from shortstop, his primary position in Cuba, to second is just one adjustment among many.
"We really feel good about him," Mattingly said. "The biggest thing is just his willingness to work hard. He wants to keep working and working. We're trying to make sure we don't let him do too much at one time and get confused. We feel like there's more than just second base. There's country and language. It's a lot at one time."
A platoon system might be one way to buy more time for Guerrero, who defected from Cuba last year. Dee Gordon, Chone Figgins, Justin Sellers, Brendan Harris and Miguel Rojas are also in the hunt for the job after Mark Ellis, last year's starter, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals.
"I think it would probably be good for him, because then you're giving him a chance to play and, hopefully, getting him favorable matchups, but also keeping him strong and rested," Mattingly said. "He's a guy who hasn't played in a couple years."
Guerrero hasn't played at a high level since 2012. He sat out last season after he was left off Cuba's World Baseball Classic roster. His frustration at not being part of Cuba's national team was a factor in his decision to defect, he said. In his third attempt, Guerrero, his brother and two friends reached Haiti by boat. He then went to the Dominican Republic.
After signing with the Dodgers, he played winter ball in The Dominican Republic. However, his work at second base was somewhat limited by two hamstring injuries. But the transition to second base has been smooth, he said, since arriving last week at Dodger camp.