Guzman to Left; Ty Meadows to the Minors

VERO BEACH, Fla.- While Joel Guzman's path to the big leagues took an abrupt left turn, another outfielder, Tydus Meadows became the first to journey across Dodgertown from the big league clubhouse to the one housing the minor leaguers.

While Guzman was set to get work in the outfield in making the switch from shortstop, right field was his original destination. However, after viewing him in the early drills, manager Grady Little decided to make it left field instead and so ordered. That's because right is currently the property of J.D. Drew and left is the most wide open.

Jayson Werth is recovering physically from a wrist injury and is unable to play so that makes Jose Cruz, Jr. the favorite to get the most time in left. However, both he and another candidate, Ricky Ledee, will be playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, which is set to start, so won't be available for a few weeks..

Thus, Guzman has started work at that post which might be his path toward a more immediate trip to the big leagues than anticipated. However, that hinges on his hitting for, as coach Dave Jauss, who's in charge of converting Guzman, says, "It's his bat that will get him up. When that's ready, his fielding will be ready."

Jauss anticipates that it will take about a month for Guzman to get the nuances of left down acceptably.

The movement of Meadows across was made simply because he's currently unable to play. Like Werth, he suffered a wrist injury and is recovering from an operation to correct it.

The injury occurred early last season but Meadows played through the entire year with Jacksonville, winding up more than respectably with a .274 average and 15 home runs. However, it was necessary to operate after the season to repair torn ligaments. He's just started to take batting practice but can't play in the field yet; hence the decision.

Meadows was in camp as a non-roster invitee, after being made a minor league free agent but electing to re-sign with the Dodgers although he had other offers.

Now 28, Ty attended Vanderbilt and was originally drafted by the Cubs in 1998. He subsequently played in the Royals and Rangers organizations before first joining the Dodgers as a free agent in November 2004. He also spent last spring with the big club as a non-roster invitee.

He's 6-2, 220, and has some pop, having hit homers in the double figures in each of his last five seasons. Last year he was credited with providing veteran leadership for the highly successful Jacksonville team but that's a role he says he should share.

"Actually several guys stepped up to do that," he observes. "It was a great bunch of guys to play with. We all got along very well."

That, as much as anything is why he re-joined the organization. " I like everything about it- the way I've been treated, the coaches and the players."

When it was suggested that the Jacksonville squad may have a summer of a sort of grand reunion in Las Vegas, he allowed, "That would be great. I'd like to do that very much."

Of course, he'd also like to finally get some big league at-bats, something he hasn't done in his eight pro seasons. First, though, he's got to get back on the field.