"“If it gets to that situation, you don’t do a guy a whole lot of good sitting and watching games when he needs the experience of just playing,” he said. “Young guys, you don’t want them sitting on the bench. If that was the case, we’ll do what’s best for him and what’s best for him in the long run.”"
The Dodgers are going to be giving Hanley Ramirez the starting shortstop position in 2013 even though his defense needs some fine tuning. Mattingly said that it basically is Ramirez’s position to lose, and so far “everybody is happy with the way Hanley looks.”
Mattingly also shot down any inkling that the management wanted Dee Gordon to convert to the outfield. I touched on that absurd idea back in January, and I still think that Dee Gordon in the outfield would be the wrong move.
Feb 17, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon (9) poses for a picture during the Dodgers photo day at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Donnie admits that Gordon was brought up too soon and some more seasoning in the minors would benefit everyone involved. Sitting on the Dodger bench and not playing every day would of course stall Dee’s development as a player. The Dodgers still look at Dee as their future starting shortstop, and the speedy infielder’s talent is something that should be honed instead of wasted on a bench role. The Dodgers’ bench could definitely use an injection of speed, but at the same time it really isn’t worth it to have Gordon pinch run every so often instead of having him working on his defense and plate discipline in an everyday role in AAA. It’s really not the end of the world, and I fully expect to see Dee back on the Dodgers at some point during the season. There’s no way this ragtag bench group will make it through an entire season intact. Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker, Jerry Hairston Jr., Tim Federowicz, and Juan Uribe are what we are looking at as the 2013 bench.
Anything can happen between now and Opening Day. We all know that Spring Training can bring surprises, and there are a bunch of non-roster invites battling for a roster spot this Spring. Injuries pop up during the Spring, and sometimes the unexpected player impresses. There has already been a case of back spasms (Chris Withrow) and an ingrown toe nail (Kenley Jansen) during this first week of camp.
Dee Gordon will be stealing and showing off his “skinny swag” on the Dodgers again, but perhaps this time he will be more polished and seasoned after some extra time in Albuquerque.