Vladimir Guerrero has missed the past two weeks with a small fracture in his right hand and had a measly .385 slugging percentage in 83 games before the injury, so naturally the Orioles have him batting cleanup tonight in his return from the disabled list.
Obviously the Orioles aren’t overflowing with fantastic cleanup-hitting options, but using Guerrero there is just silly at this point. Not only has he been punchless this season, the 36-year-old’s struggles date back to the middle of last season as well.
Since last year’s All-Star break Guerrero has hit .278 with a .318 on-base percentage and .404 slugging percentage in 142 games, totaling just 16 homers and 25 walks in 610 trips to the plate. To put that in some context, consider that Greg Dobbs has hit .267 with a .312 on-base percentage and .409 slugging percentage for his career.
Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner left Monday’s Cactus League game against the Athletics after he was hit by a pitch. He went for X-rays, revealing that he suffered a broken wrist, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Shaikin adds that Turner is unlikely to return before May, noting that Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman missed six weeks with a similar injury last year and Astros outfielder George Springer missed nine weeks in 2015.
Needless to say, this is a huge loss for the Dodgers. Last year, Turner hit .322/.415/.530 with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 543 plate appearances, helping the Dodgers reach the World Series. He made the All-Star team for the first time in his career and finished eighth in NL MVP balloting.
Thankfully, the Dodgers have some versatile players on the roster. Logan Forsythe could move from second base to third, giving Chase Utley more playing time at second. Enrique Hernandez could man the hot corner as well. Chris Taylor has played some third base, or he could shift to second base in Forsythe’s stead. The club should shed some light on how it plans to move forward following Turner’s injury.