Dee Gordon hasn’t officially been named the starting second baseman, but Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly all but made it official with his latest comments.
Gordon was in competition with Alex Guerrero, Justin Turner and Chone Figgins for the starting spot and used a strong spring and is the front runner for the job. Although Mattingly hasn’t announced his starting lineup for Saturday’s Opening Series game, he’s revealed some of his thoughts on it.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Mattingly is considering a different approach to the normal National League lineup:
Manager Don Mattingly said he is considering batting speedster Dee Gordon ninth in the Dodgers’ lineup instead of eighth in certain situations.
Those certain situations could come when a pitcher with a stronger bat is starting the game. Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu all hit well last season and newcomer Dan Haren is also a strong hitting pitcher. Of the four, Greinke and Haren and could push Gordon behind them in the lineup. Mattingly’s main concern with that proposition is that the seventh hitter in the lineup would lose some protection with the pitcher behind him. The last manager to prominently feature a lineup without the pitcher batting ninth was Tony La Russa with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Gordon’s past struggles in the regular season and exceptional speed make him a candidate for the unconventional lineup. The move would make the 25-year-old a second leadoff hitter, one that can potentially reach base for normal leadoff hitter Yasiel Puig. Gordon was a perfect 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts this spring and could give the top of the lineup a jolt by being on base.
Greinke and Haren both remained in Arizona and didn’t make the trip to Australia, meaning that Gordon could find himself in the eighth spot for the Opening Series, but may not remain there the rest of the season.
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