Justin Turner was the starting second baseman in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ opening game in Australia because left-hander Wade Miley took the mound for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The next night, right-hander Trevor Cahill started and Dee Gordon found himself in the starting lineup. Manager Don Mattingly has taken a platoon approach to the Dodgers’ unknown entity at second base, but it appears as if he has a favorite to take over the job.
According to Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times, Mattingly would like a certain speedster to win the spot outright:
I want to be able to use our guys all over. If somebody takes it over, we’ll see. For right now, I’d like to give Dee some shots because obviously he brings another dynamic to us if he can kind of go and take that job. Then that allows us flexibility with Justin, how we’d use him and [Chone Figgins]. We’ll just see. For right now, [a platoon is] what it kind of looks like.
Gordon brings the speed element to the table and changes the game a bit when he’s on base, not to mention on balls hit in the gaps. The 25-year-old has had more than a couple chances the past two seasons to take over a position, but his bat and defense have kept him in the minor leagues. This spring, Gordon showed strong defense and a better sense of awareness at the plate that may be a sign of him turning a corner.
He also believes he is ready for the job via Dilbeck:
I just want an opportunity. They’ve given it to me and I’m going to seize it this time. I didn’t seize it in the past. I was too immature or didn’t know myself.
I think I’m ready. I’m ready to play. I’m ready to play for a high-profile club. I can play every day and I’m going to do what I can to show them I’m persistent and I’m accountable.
Waiting in the wings if Gordon and the others fail is Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero, who’ll be starting the year in Triple-A in order to work on his defense. Many believe he’ll be the Dodgers’ second baseman at some point this season and it will be up to Gordon to delay it as much as possible.
This may be Gordon’s last chance to be a starter with the Dodgers and he has everyone in his corner hoping he succeeds.
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