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Dodgers say Dee Gordon still figures in their plans

While the 24-year-old shortstop and leadoff hitter has been on the disabled list because of a fractured thumb, the Dodgers have acquired Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino.

August 03, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times
  • Dee Gordon was batting .229 in 78 games before injuring his thumb.
Dee Gordon was batting .229 in 78 games before injuring his thumb. (Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles…)

The Dodgers recently traded for a three-time All-Star who has spent most of his career at shortstop, Hanley Ramirez. They also added a leadoff hitter, Shane Victorino.

Meantime, Dee Gordon, the Dodgers shortstop and leadoff hitter until he fractured his right thumb on a head-first slide July 4, had a pin removed from the injured area Thursday.

Gordon had struggled hitting and, at times, fielding this season. But he's also only 24 years old and his 30 stolen bases still lead the National League.

Which is why General Manager Ned Colletti said Gordon "absolutely" and "without a shadow of a doubt" still figures prominently in the Dodgers' plans.

Ramirez moved from shortstop to third base this season to accommodate Miami Marlins off-season addition Jose Reyes. Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly has said he would like for Ramirez to switch back to shortstop — but only until Gordon returns.

The addition of Victorino means that if Gordon plays again this season he will probably do so as a No. 8 hitter. But even that could be temporary. Victorino will be eligible for free agency at the end of the season.

"It doesn't necessarily mean he's not going to be a good leadoff guy," Mattingly said of Gordon. "I think Dee's going to be a great player. Getting Shane doesn't change that at all."

These ideas have been communicated to Gordon, who said he intends to solicit as much advice as he can from Ramirez and Victorino. Gordon has histories with both players.

Gordon was 18 when he introduced himself to Ramirez.

The two future Dodgers were in Pittsburgh at the Home Run Derby preceding the 2006 All-Star game. Ramirez was on the National League All-Star team. Gordon was there with his father, Tom, then a Philadelphia Phillies pitcher.

Meeting Ramirez and Reyes marked one of the rare times Gordon let doubt enter his mind. A lifelong basketball player to that point, Gordon had only recently started playing baseball.

"I was like, 'These guys are huge,'" Gordon said. "Both of them are 6-1, 6-2. I thought, 'I'm never going to be able to play shortstop in the major leagues.'"

Victorino was a longtime teammate of Tom Gordon with the Phillies.

"I was in high school at the time," Gordon said. "He taught me a lot. I could ask him anything. I hadn't really played, so I tried to take the 'Flyin' Hawaiian' back to high school."

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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