Three blown saves and a recent spate of poor outings have cost Javy Guerra his role as the Los Angeles Dodgers' closer. Manager Don Mattingly made the change Monday, meeting with Guerra before the game against the San Francisco Giants.
"He came in early and told me he figured it was coming. He said, 'You don't even have to explain it, I understand,'" Mattingly said. "He's not wanting to not get guys out. It says something about the unselfishness of Javy that he wants what's best for the team. He understands that he hasn't been getting outs at the end of the game."
Guerra blew the save opportunity Sunday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, the fourth time in five games he has left trailing after entering either a tie game or with the lead.
"I said all along that I didn't want to have to do this, but I didn't want to be hardheaded either," Mattingly said. "It's kind of like guys that I think can hit lefties, but if they don't, the game tells me they're not doing it. With Javy, the game's really making the decision for me."
Kenley Jansen, who is tied for the major league lead with 16 appearances and leads all relievers with 27 strikeouts, is the new Dodgers closer.
"He's going to get the first shot at it," Mattingly said. "I've known all along that Kenley with his strikeouts profiles as that kind of guy."
Mattingly said he would use Guerra in a variety of roles in the bullpen, depending on the situation.
"I'll use Javy all over," Mattingly said. "I want to try to get this guy back. He's going to be a valuable guy. We're going to need big outs from guys."
Neither Guerra nor Jansen got into Monday's game, a 9-1 Dodgers rout of San Francisco. Ronald Belisario, Josh Lindblom and Scott Elbert each pitched a scoreless inning in relief of winner Ted Lilly.