Dee Gordon Went To ‘Square One’ To Improve Hitting

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Dee Gordon’s Major-League debut in 2011 further led to the notion he was the shortstop of the future. Gordon hit .304 and stole 24 bases in 56 games, however 2012 proved to be an entirely different story.

Gordon began the year on the Opening Day roster, and struggled with the bat and glove as the starting shortstop. A thumb injury on July 4 derailed Gordon’s season as he was supplanted by one Hanley Ramirez.

Despite the fact that Ramirez was recovering from a thumb injury at the start of the 2013 season, Gordon was with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate on Opening Day. He was promoted in May for a six-week stay and again in September when active rosters expanded.

With Ramirez at shortstop and Mark Ellis entrenched at second base, the Dodgers didn’t quite have a position or role for Gordon. Adding to what made Gordon expendable was his inability to consistently get on base.

Gordon recalled being optioned to the Minors last season and the process he went through in order to improve, via Cary Osborne of Dodger Insider:

I was so athletic. My uncle taught me how to hit. He told me to take my hands to the ball. I didn’t know anything about using my legs. And it always worked for me, so I never changed. I needed to make a change. So I told Franklin Stubbs to take me to square one with hitting. And at the time I was hitting like .330 in Triple-A. So he took me to square one and my average went to about .275 quick. I was freaking out.”

When Gordon returned to the Dodgers in September, he hit .353 (6-for-17) and stole four bases in 13 games. His speed earned him a spot on the Dodgers’ NLDS and NLCS rosters. Gordon appeared as a pinch-runner in two of the nine postseason games the Dodgers played and was caught stealing in Game 2 of the NLDS, which was his lone attempt.

With a grueling winter that included working at center field, Gordon eventually put everything together and won the job at second base in Spring Training. This season was very much a tale of redemption for the speedster, who led the Majors in stolen bases with 64 and 12 triples.

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