LOS ANGELES -- The news wasn't as terrifying as the day before, when it was announced reigning National League Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw would miss his Sunday start in San Diego because of a muscle pull in his back, but the nicks continue to pile up for the Los Angeles Dodgers, something that hindered the club down the stretch last season.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly revealed before Thursday's exhibition game against the visiting Los Angeles Angels that second baseman Alex Guerrero had strained the intercostal muscles that run along his ribs, sidelining him indefinitely.
Guerrero, who struck out in his only at-bat in the season-opening doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia last weekend, had been optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday for more seasoning, but the Dodgers view the 27-year-old Cuban as their future second baseman, evident by the four-year $28-million contract they offered him last October.
The intercostal muscle group consists of three layers that help the movement of the chest, such as when breathing. Mattingly wasn't sure about the specifics of the injury, but said "it sounds like it was instant."
The Dodgers were already set up for a platoon situation at second base with newly acquired Justin Turner and Dee Gordon sharing duties. Both started games in Australia, with Gordon going 3-for-4 in the leadoff spot Saturday with two runs scored and an RBI in the 7-5 win, and Turner finishing 1-for-4 while batting second in the 3-1 victory in the opener.
Relegated to pinch-running duties during much of his stay in Los Angeles, Mattingly says he has been particularly pleased with the added power Gordon has shown this season.
"We're seeing a little more pop out of his bat that we really didn't think about," Mattingly said. "That extra 10-12 pounds he has put on really has put a little different dynamic on how the ball comes off his bat."
Mattingly wasn't ready to name a starter for Sunday's game against the San Diego Padres, the regular-season opener on U.S. soil for the Dodgers. Kershaw was originally supposed to start, but now the Dodgers are looking at Hyun-Jin Ryu, who pitched five shutout innings Saturday to earn the win against Arizona. Mattingly wouldn't cement that decision until Ryu threw a bullpen session Friday, however.
Dan Haren, the other option, threw a bullpen session Thursday and will either take the mound Sunday, if Ryu can't go, or pitch Wednesday against the Padres in the series finale.
"We really can't go 100 percent where we're going to go until we find out how that goes," Mattingly said of Ryu's bullpen session.
Zack Greinke, who is scheduled to pitch against the Angels in the Freeway Series opener, is set to start Tuesday against the Padres. Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who suffered through his second straight injury-plagued season last year after nearly winning the Triple Crown in 2011, played his final spring training game in Arizona on Thursday and will rejoin the Dodgers for Friday's game.