Dee Gordon went 0 for 5 against St. Louis on Friday, the night before Dodgers… (Harry How / Getty Images )
Shortstop Dee Gordon was out of the Dodgers lineup Saturday. He probably won't be in the lineup for the next couple of days, either.
Manager Don Mattingly figures that sitting Gordon for a few days could help the 24-year-old leadoff hitter slow down the game mentally and catch his breath.
Gordon, who is in his first full season as the everyday shortstop, was the only starting position player to not reach base in a 6-5 victory over theSt. Louis Cardinalson Friday. Gordon was 0 for 5, dipping his average to .200.
"We all go through challenges," Gordon said. "I'm going to back up a little bit, learn from it. I'm not going to get down about it and I'm not going to stop working. It's on me. I'm going to try to make this a learning experience. It is what it is. I can't change what happened, but I can determine how hard I work, how much work I put in."
Mattingly said he would like for Gordon to remain the Dodgers' leadoff hitter, but was vague when asked about Gordon's role when he resumes playing. Center fielder Tony Gwynn Jr. led off and Justin Sellers started at shortstop Saturday.
Of hitting at the top of the lineup, Gordon said, "Honestly, man, if I do, if I don't, it doesn't matter, as long as I'm helping this team."
Gordon doesn't think he is being pitched any different to than he was last season, when he hit .345 in his final 34 games.
"They're actually pitching me pretty much the same," he said. "The game's speeding up and I'm not hitting the same pitches I used to hit. It's probably more mental than anything."
Gordon said his free-falling batting average isn't the primary source of his frustration.
"It's about me not picking up my teammates," Gordon said. "I'm a very team-oriented guy. I get a little frustrated with myself when I'm not helping out the team in situations. I know I need to be on base for the team. It's not happening right now, but if I keep working, it will."
Gordon has received words of support from Matt Kemp, who talked to him about his own ups and downs as a young player.
"It's the game," Gordon said. "You have to go through it. I've always been told nothing good comes easy."
Like Kemp, Gordon's extraordinary athletic ability allowed him to be fast-tracked to the major leagues. The downside of that is that he is burdened with inflated expectations from fans, similar to how Kemp was. And he has to learn the finer aspects of the game in the spotlight of the major leagues as opposed to the relative privacy of the minors, the way Kemp did.
Gordon doesn't mind.
"I embrace it," he said. "It's a joy for people to feel that way about you."
Sidelined utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. is scheduled to play in minor league games Monday and Tuesday. The Dodgers plan to activate him from the disabled list Wednesday for their series finale in Arizona. … Kemp told fans at the Dodgers' inaugural FanFest that he intends to return May 29, the first day he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list.