GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is hoping Javy Guerra can build on his strong rookie season.
Guerra was promoted last May and went 2-2 with 21 saves in 23 chances and a 2.31 ERA. But Mattingly isn't ready to call the 26-year-old right-hander an established closer.
"The only thing that scares me about Javy is that he doesn't even have a full season yet ... That second year, you never know how it rolls out," Mattingly said. "That's the only thing that bothers me at all. Nothing about performance."
Hard-throwing Kenley Jansen or Mike MacDougal could step in if Guerra falters, but the 6-foot native of Denton, Texas, sure looked unflappable last season.
Mattingly didn't have many options in his worn-down bullpen when he gave Guerra -- who played for the Ogden Raptors in 2006 -- his first save opportunity on May 24 in Houston.
Pitching in front of some family members, Guerra retired the first batter. He then got an 0-2 count on Bill Hall, before missing his spot with a pitch.
"And he hits a home run, but it's a foot foul," Guerra said. "I said, 'Wow!' "
He struck him out with the next pitch, and the third batter lined out to right.
Three batters faced, eight pitches, all strikes. One save.
"I remember sitting after the game and thinking, 'OK, You got one."' Guerra said. "There's a sigh of relief ... I think that game gave me the most confidence. It was awesome."
Guerra was brought in to preserve a 1-0 lead against San Diego on July 8, and the Padres promptly loaded the bases with no outs. The rookie responded by striking out Kyle Phillips and Will Venable before center fielder Matt Kemp made a nice catch on Jason Bartlett's liner to center to end the game.
Guerra said he's learned from older players to try to slow the game down.
"Everything happens really quickly," he said. "So you try to slow it down, step off and do what you need to focus on that pitch alone, not the next pitch, not the next guy."