How long can Guerra be Dodgers' closer? 

July, 25, 2011
07/25/11
11:16
AM ET

At the beginning of the year, there were questions as to whether Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Javy Guerra would even see the majors this season, much less wind up somewhere on the closer depth chart.

However, as we enter the last week of July, unexpected attrition at the position for the Dodgers through injury and ineffectiveness has thrust the rookie into the role. He's responded by going a perfect 7-for-7 in save chances. Those seven saves tie for the team lead, which shows how much of a mess the ninth has been for the Dodgers for much of the season. Seven different pitchers have recorded a save for the club, with six doing so in roughly a three-week span at one point.

The 25-year-old right-hander was a fourth-round pick in the 2004 draft, but his ascent was delayed by Tommy John surgery in 2005. His command was slow to come back as the club changed his delivery from his amateur days, and he battled his mechanics as a minor league starter in 2006 and 2007 before converting to a relief role in 2008. He was limited to just 29 innings last year due to shoulder and hamstring trouble, though he did add more innings in the Arizona Fall League.


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