Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon says his swing has improved since his return… (Kirby Lee / U.S. Presswire )
Dodgers rookie shortstop Dee Gordon said Wednesday that he's feeling no ill effects from his recent stint on the disabled list and that, in fact, the setback might have led to an improved swing.
Gordon, 23, returned to the Dodgers' lineup two weeks ago after injuring his right shoulder in early August.
Entering Wednesday night's game, Gordon had only two hits in his previous 23 at-bats, but overall he was batting .333 (18 for 54) with five doubles since his return Sept. 1. Gordon hit an infield single in his first at-bat Wednesday.
Asked whether the shoulder still bothered him, Gordon said, "Here and there, [I feel] a little something, but nothing too major," a feeling he attributed to residual soreness from the injury.
The slender, speedy Gordon, who often leads off in the batting order, said he hasn't made any major changes since returning although he's been "a little precautionary" at the plate.
"Actually, it's kind of helped my swing a little bit, me keeping two hands on the bat and stuff like that," Gordon said. "So I feel like it's helped more than anything."
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly agreed. "His swing is getting shorter" and "that's a good thing" because it's given Gordon "a little bit more of that direct pop" when he hits the ball, Mattingly said.
"I know everybody looks at Dee and says, 'Oh, bunt, slap and run,' " Mattingly said. "For me, he can hit and he's going to be a good hitter.
"We just need to let Dee keep playing and keep learning," Mattingly said. "He needs to keep working. He's going to get better and better. The people in L.A. are going to like watching him play."
Ethier has surgery
Andre Ethier had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee as scheduled Wednesday, with the All Star right-fielder expected to have a recovery period of six to eight weeks.
It was "the best-case scenario" and there were "no complications once they got in there," Mattingly said, adding that Ethier "should be able to do his workouts all winter."
The 35-minute procedure, performed by team physician Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles, was intended to clean out the area underneath Ethier's right kneecap that caused him discomfort.
Ethier, 29, finished the season batting .292 with 11 home runs and 62 runs batted in.
2012 schedule announced
The Dodgers open the 2012 season against the Padres in San Diego on April 5 and play their first home game at Dodger Stadium against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 10, according to a preliminary schedule released Wednesday.
The Dodgers' interleague play next year includes series with the Angels, Chicago White Sox, Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics.
The Dodgers' season ends with a home game Oct. 3 against the San Francisco Giants.