With just three days until their first game of the Spring Training season, the Los Angeles Dodgers played an intrasquad game at Camelback Ranch this morning. Matt Kemp and Zack Greinke picked teams for both sides with Team Kemp coming out victorious 3-1 behind home runs from Dee Gordon and Hanley Ramirez.
Of the two home runs, Gordon’s is a huge surprise as he’s only hit two career home runs, but it speaks to the weight gained by the 25-year-old this off-season. While he’s always been a shortstop, Gordon is transitioning to a utility role and is in the running for the starting second base spot, something he was asked by Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA:
Does Dee Gordon want to start opening day at 2B? "My only goal is to be on that plane going to Australia."
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) February 23, 2014
Questions about Alex Guerrero being ready to play second base have been talked about throughout camp, but the 27-year-old Cuban infielder reportedly made a great play there this morning. Because of this, manager Don Mattingly is open to using a platoon, presumably with Guerrero and Gordon.
Regardless, Gordon wants to be on the trip to Australia that departs in less than a month as the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will open the season March 22-23. Brought up as a shortstop, Gordon has had problems getting on base and fielding his position while the presence of Hanley Ramirez long-term made him consider embracing a utility role.
During two different stints in winter ball, Gordon played center field and second base as the Dodgers are in need of a utility player after the departures of Nick Punto, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Skip Schumaker. Due to the early start this season, MLB is allowing both teams to take 30 players, an additional five, on the trip to Australia and it’s looking like Gordon will be among those likely going.
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