BY JUSTIN LADA
The Indians already have four guys doubling up on lockers because the Indians have 61 players in big league camp, 21 of whom are non-roster invitees.
Add one more to that last.
Most likely due to the fact that Julio Lugo was never officially signed last month, the Indians reached a minor league deal shortstop Christian Guzman.
The switch hitting Guzman, 33, sat out the 2011 with family issues, split 2010 with the Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers. With the Nationals he hit .282 with 11 doubles in 319 at bats. He was traded to the Rangers in waiver trade in August of 2010 and had just 7 hits in 46 at bats.
Guzman spent the first six years of his career with the Minnesota Twins and was an All-Star in 2001. He led the league in triples three different seasons.
Guzman is a switch hitter who can play shortstop or second base and might still have some speed. His best days as a ballplayer are certainly behind him, but he was a big part of the Twins run of division championships 10 years ago. He still has a decent glove and still hit for average when he was with the Nationals in 2010.
He will likely compete for the utility infielder spot, which already includes Jason Donald and Jack Hannahan as the strong favorites for that spot.
Guzman’s experience and the fact that he’s a switch hitter give him at least a shot. Given the Indians rash of injuries last season, the depth cannot hurt. In reality, he probably still has more in the tank than Lugo would have.
Day 1 in the books
A few notes from day one of spring training:
Manny Acta said he already knows who his opening day starter will be, but is going to wait a while to announce it. It will be between Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jiminez. The smart money is on Masterson.
Acta also noted that the competition at third base between Hannahan and Lonnie Chisenhall will likely take the entire camp to figure itself out.
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UPDATED 02/21/2012 17:08