While only pitchers and catchers have officially reported to spring training at Camelback Ranch, position players Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Justin Turner and others have gotten a head start on their preparations for the 2014 seasons.
Among the early attendees is infielder Dee Gordon, who spent most of the off-season learning new positions in hopes of landing a utility role with the Dodgers. At Fan Fest earlier this month, it was revealed Gordon added close to 20 pounds, but weighed in at 173 pounds today, 29 pounds more than he weighed at the start of spring training in 2011.
Talking to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com, Gordon talked about making the transition from shortstop to second base:
I feel like I can be a good shortstop, but I can play a great second base, he said. If they let me play, they’ll have a good second baseman and a great hitter at the bottom of the order to set the table at the top.
Gordon comes into camp as a candidate to win the starting second base job as management has questions about Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero and his ability to start from day one. The departures of utility players Skip Schumaker, Jerry Hariston Jr., Mark Ellis and Nick Punto will give the 25-year-0ld a better chance of making the team.
Cast as the Dodgers shortstop of the future, Gordon struggled in his stints with the big league team. He made his big league debut on June 6, 2011, but hasn’t been able to stay with the big league team consistently. In 181 career games, he’s stolen an impressive 66 bases, but has had a difficult time getting on base.
He has a career triple slash of .256/.314/.298, but is said to be hitting the ball with more authority due to his added weight. Manager Don Mattingly said that while his speed plays in the big leagues, inconsistency has been Gordon’s biggest problem staying with the Dodgers.
With a large group competing for two sports on the Dodgers bench a strong camp likely lands Gordon a utility role to start the season.
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