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Baseball: Ryan grad Javy Guerra pitching for Mexico

Profile image for From staff and wire reports
From staff and wire reports

Ryan grad Guerra pitching for Mexico

From staff and wire reports

Ryan alumnus and Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Javy Guerra will pitch for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.

Guerra, who was drafted by the National League team out of Ryan in 2004, is one of six Dodgers who will join their respective teams in the WBC. Play in the Arizona bracket begins today.

Guerra, however, is a player the Dodgers would just as soon have seen stay in camp. The right-hander had knee surgery last summer before his season was ended a month early by an oblique injury. In the fall, he had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder.

When Arizona Diamondbacks reliever David Hernandez was moved from the Mexican roster to the U.S. roster, it opened a spot for Guerra and the Dodgers agreed to let him go.

“I trust him. I trust that he’s healthy. I trust that he feels 100 percent and that he’s got no issues,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said of Guerra, who has saved 29 games in two seasons. “I have to believe everything that he’s telling me.”

Guerra went 2-3 last season with a 2.60 ERA in 45 innings, despite missing the final month of the season. He struck out 37 and saved eight games.

Guerra gave up just one home run in 2012 in what was a tough season overall. He entered the season projected to be the Dodgers’ closer after posting 21 saves in 2011, but he struggled.

Guerra, a Mexican-American who was born in Denton, said he used to spend summers in Mexico, where his dad lives in the northern state of Coahuila, which borders Texas.

“I’m looking forward to representing my country and going out there and performing at the best level with the best elite players in the world,” Guerra said. “The first time I [was] approached about it, I wanted to make sure my first and foremost priority was the Dodgers. Coming off of shoulder surgery, I wanted to make sure I was healthy, everything was going good.

“I feel amazing, I feel great. My arm feels great — best shape I’ve ever been in. And facing the best competition in the world can’t hurt.”

Guerra, who pitched a scoreless inning in Sunday’s Cactus League game against Cleveland, had a shot at facing some teammates Wednesday when Mexico played an exhibition game against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.

“Anytime you’re on the mound, I don’t care who is in the box. You’re trying to be competitive,” he said.

And if he wins that competition?

“You can talk trash forever at that point.”

The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.