Sidelined Gordon: 'I want to play baseball'

Second baseman eyes return from IL; Hernandez throws rehab outing

August 3rd, 2019

HOUSTON -- While there was talk that he might be moved to a new team at Wednesday’s Trade Deadline, said he never felt like he was going anywhere, and he’s eager to return from the 10-day injured list so he can finish out the season strong for Seattle.

The 31-year-old second baseman has been sidelined the past 12 days by a strained left quad muscle, but he took infield practice and hit with the Mariners prior to Saturday’s game against the Astros and says he’s close to returning.

Manager Scott Servais expects Gordon will need a Minor League rehab game or two to regain his timing next week. Then he should be ready to rejoin the club. Even with the Mariners sitting in last place in the American League West, and making it clear they’re pointed more to the future after trading away numerous veterans since last offseason, Gordon insists he has plenty of motivation for the final two months of 2019.

“I want to play baseball,” he said. “I still have numbers to put up. That’s it, for me, honestly. That’s pretty much all any of us can do at this point -- produce. That’s what you do.”

Gordon has posted a .280/.306/.367 slash line with 16 stolen bases in 77 games this season. He missed 29 games while on the IL, first for a bruised right wrist from getting hit by a pitch and now with the strained quad.

The latest injury might have limited his trade market, but Gordon never assumed he’d be dealt, even as the Mariners sent away many of his peers. Gordon is earning $13.3 million this season and is under contract for $13.8 million next year, with a $14 million team option or a $1 million buyout in 2021.

“Other than the year I got called up [with the Dodgers], I’ve never moved in the middle of the season,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to do it again this year either. It’s not a big deal to me.”

Gordon played in the postseason with the Dodgers in 2013-14, but was part of a rebuilding Marlins club from '15-18. He saw that team’s veterans traded away as well, and understands what it takes for a team to keep playing hard and staying motivated in these situations.

“You get paid to play,” Gordon said. “You better do your job, or they’ll get somebody else to do it for you. That’s pretty much staple. You get paid to play. If you don’t produce, you’re gone.

"If you have to remind a grown man of that, he probably shouldn’t have been here in the first place. If you can’t get motivated by getting paid to play a game every day and take care of your family, if you need motivation for that, I feel sorry for you. It’s just cut and dried.”

Worth noting

• Servais said reports were good on Felix Hernandez’s perfect two-inning, 20-pitch rehab outing for Class Short-A Everett on Friday, though he didn’t know yet where the veteran right-hander will throw next. Both Everett and Triple-A Tacoma are on the road next week.

“He threw strikes and got ‘em out,” Servais said. “I’m sure there was a little more intensity there. I heard it was a sellout in Everett, so I’m sure he got his juices flowing a little. That’s a good sign there. He’s going to have to get built up a little and certainly face a little stiffer competition along the way. I’m not sure what the next step is yet. I’d assume somewhere for maybe three innings and 45 to 50 pitches and see how that goes.”

• With rookie relievers Zac Grotz and Reggie McClain getting into their first games on Friday, the Mariners have used an Major League-high 61 players this year. With nearly two months still to go, Seattle is only three shy of the MLB record of 64 players used by the Rangers in 2014. The only other team to employ more than 61 players in a season was Toronto with 63 in ’18.