Guerra sent to Minors as Dodgers trim roster

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers began addressing their glut of quality pitchers Sunday by optioning to the Minor Leagues reliever Javy Guerra, who a year ago was the team's closer.

Since that time last year, Guerra was hit in the face with a line drive, underwent knee surgery, strained an oblique, had shoulder surgery and, most recently, missed a week with a mild groin strain. The series of injuries cost him a late berth on Team Mexico for the World Baseball Classic.

Guerra returned to game action Saturday, striking out the only two batters he faced, but was told Sunday he was a victim of numbers.

Despite all of the injuries, Guerra, 27, had a 2.60 ERA in 45 appearances last year and has a 2.46 ERA in two Major League seasons, which included his 21-save season of 2011, when he jumped from Double-A and inherited the job from an injured Jonathan Broxton.

Guerra is the first of what will be a number of difficult bullpen decisions, some of which are being impacted by the surplus of starting pitchers.

"He was behind [physically] and really never caught up and ran out of time," manager Don Mattingly said. "We're going to stretch him out to where he's a National League long man, two to three innings, so he can keep working on his mix of pitches and knowing he'll pitch on a regular day."

The Dodgers also reassigned  right-handed pitcher Juan Abreu to Minor League camp.

The Dodgers' bullpen is expected to include closer Brandon League, setup men Kenley Jansen and Ronald Belisario and left-hander J.P. Howell. The final three spots are up for grabs among roster veteran Matt Guerrier; youngsters Paco Rodriguez, Shawn Tolleson and Josh Wall; and non-roster veterans Kevin Gregg, Mark Lowe and Peter Moylan.

And that doesn't count up to three starting pitchers (depending on injuries) dislodged from the rotation from the quartet of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.