Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon was sent down to triple-A Albuquerque. (Erik S. Lesser / EPA )
The latest round of the Dee Gordon Experiment came to an end Monday, as the Dodgers sent the athletic but unpolished shortstop to triple-A Albuquerque.
The move was made to open a place on the roster for often-injured utility man Jerry Hairston Jr., who was sidelined for nearly three weeks because of groin and hamstring strains.
Hanley Ramirez ran the bases for the first time since going on the disabled list May 4 because of a strained left hamstring and could start a minor league rehabilitation stint after the Dodgers play in Anaheim on Wednesday and Thursday. Until Ramirez returns, Manager Don Mattingly said he plans for Nick Punto and Luis Cruz to split playing time at shortstop.
Punto began Monday's game batting .337. Cruz, who started at third base, was hitting .096.
Unlike Cruz, Gordon was out of options, meaning he could be sent to the minor leagues without clearing waivers.
Mattingly recited a refrain that has becoming increasingly familiar over the last two-plus years, saying he still believes the 25-year-old Gordon has a promising future.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, May 29, 2013 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 2 inches; 101 words Type of Material: Correction
Dodgers: In the May 28 Sports section, a Dodgers FYI item about the team's sending shortstop Dee Gordon to Albuquerque said that Gordon was out of options and therefore could be demoted to the minor leagues without clearing waivers. Each major league player can be moved back and forth from the big-league team to the minors a certain number of times. These are called options. Gordon actually has options remaining, which is why the Dodgers could send him to the minors without his clearing waivers. Otherwise, he could have been claimed by another major league team and moved to that organization.
"I really feel he made a lot of strides defensively," Mattingly said.
Gordon, who was called up from triple A on May 4, made two errors in 19 games. He was batting .175.
"I think the offensive side of it is just going to come," Mattingly said. "I really believe that. His speed and his stroke, for me, he's like a Michael Bourn. Early on, he wasn't really a guy you feared at all and Michael just got better and better. I really feel like that's Dee."
Gordon didn't start playing baseball full time until his senior year of high school, which is why the Dodgers have remained patient with him. However, some in the organization think he will never be a major league shortstop and are curious to see him play center field.
Beckett to be examined
Before Josh Beckett was put on the disabled list May 14 because of a strained left groin, something else already had been bothering him when he pitched. His fingers were numb.
The problem worsened during Beckett's latest bullpen session, prompting the Dodgers to shut down the former All-Star's throwing program and schedule an MRI exam for him Tuesday.
Beckett is 0-5 with a 5.19 earned-run average in eight starts this season.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... A.J. Ellis underwent an X-ray exam on his left wrist, which was struck by a pitch Sunday. Results were negative. ... Left-handed reliever Scott Elbert has pitched in eight minor league games and built up sufficient arm strength to return to the majors. Elbert, who had two off-season elbow operations, will be with Albuquerque until the Dodgers figure out what to do with him. ... Stephen Fife will start a minor league rehabilitation assignment Tuesday with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. Fife has been sidelined since April 27 because of shoulder inflammation.