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Don Mattingly not ready to move Dee Gordon out of leadoff -- yet

April 28, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon singles in the winning run during a game against the San Diego Padres on April 15.
Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon singles in the winning run during a game against… (Victor Decolongon / Getty…)

If not Dee Gordon, then who? If not now, then when?

Gordon is struggling to hit and to get on base, and that’s a bad combo when you’re the leadoff hitter. He’s currently batting .224 with a miserable .268 on-base percentage.

It’s still only April, but it’s hardly something the Dodgers can sustain indefinitely. Gordon is having particular trouble against left-handers (.120, .154). In all 19 games he’s started, he’ batted leadoff.

So is Manager Don Mattingly even thinking of moving Gordon out of the leadoff spot?

"I can think about it, but then I have to find a guy who can lead off," Mattingly said. "At this point, I don’t feel like we really need to do anything a whole lot different.

"We’ve been able to kind of sustain what we’re doing. We’ll kinda keep riding this thing. Dee, we may give a few more days (off) here and there. But not really [ready to move him from leadoff], not yet"

A large part of the problem in moving Gordon out of the leadoff position, is who would take his place? The Dodgers have no one else who even approaches being a typical leadoff hitter.

The Dodger with the best on-base percentage is Matt Kemp (.512), and I’m thinking they like him just fine in the third spot, since he’s currently one RBI behind teammate Andre Ethier from leading the majors in the triple-crown categories.

A.J. Ellisis next with a .435 on-base percentage (13 hits, 14 walks), which he’s managed from the eighth spot. Despite losing 19 pounds in the offseason, he’s not exactly fleet around the bases. Still, he’s not going to clog them up, either. He would be a serious non-traditional choice for the Dodgers.

Next up for on-base percentage is Jerry Hairston, Jr. (.419). He’s 35 but can still run a little. Trouble is, he’s not a regular. Anyway, not a regular regular. He’s appeared in 14 of the Dodgers’ first 21 games, starting in left as well as at third and second.

For now, Mattingly is going to let Gordon continue to work through his growing pains.

"For me with Dee, it’s just all part of it," Mattingly said. "You didn’t think he was just going to come out and tear it up. You kinda felt you were going to have weeks, or periods of time [where he struggled]. That it’s just part of Dee growing up.”

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Don Mattingly not ready to move Dee Gordon out of  leadoff -- yet

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