SEATTLE -- The transition to center field hasn't always been easy for Dee Gordon this season, but the Mariners' leadoff man never imagined he'd be headed back to second base this quickly.Things changed in a hurry Tuesday, however, when the Mariners learned that eight-time All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano had
SEATTLE -- The transition to center field hasn't always been easy for Dee Gordon this season, but the Mariners' leadoff man never imagined he'd be headed back to second base this quickly.
Things changed in a hurry Tuesday, however, when the Mariners learned that eight-time All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano had received an 80-game suspension for a failed drug test. General manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais talked with Gordon, and they quickly decided the best solution is to move the 30-year-old back to second in Cano's absence.
"I've played the position, but considering the circumstances, it's definitely not how you want it to happen, especially to a great guy like Robbie," said Gordon, who won the National League Gold Glove Award at second for the Marlins in 2015 and never played outfield until being acquired by Seattle in December. "I'm just going to try to help us for this season, and see what we can do to try to get to the postseason."
Gordon took grounders at second prior to Tuesday's series opener with the Rangers, but the Mariners will give him several days to reacclimate to the position. He'll continue starting in center field until he feels ready.
"Like I said when I first got here, I'm just here to help us win ballgames, no matter what I've got to do," Gordon said. "This is just part of it, and we'll see how it goes."
Servais said Gordon will work with infield coach Manny Acta for the next 2-3 days before a final decision is made, but the direction seems pretty clear.
"It's pretty easy with Dee," Servais said. "He wants to do whatever is going to help the team win, and certainly he's very talented, he's won a Gold Glove at second base. The thing that stood out for Dee, he's a tremendous athlete and really good teammate. He wants to do what's going to help us win."
The Mariners promoted veteran James Beckham from Triple-A Tacoma when Cano went on the disabled list Monday after fracturing a bone in his right hand. Beckham and utility man Andrew Romine can both play second, but Gordon would provide a more permanent solution over the 80-game suspension.
Guillermo Heredia has platooned in left field with Ben Gamel, but Heredia is a strong defensive center fielder and can capably handle that spot. The Mariners will likely need to bolster their outfield depth in that scenario. Cano's suspension without pay takes nearly $12 million in payroll off the books, which could create some options.
"That's part of this," Dipoto said. "This has been less than 24 hours that we've had a chance to process this and not something we've spent a great deal of time on. But we've certainly looked at outside alternatives as a possibility."
Those alternatives could include either a second baseman or an outfielder, thanks to Gordon's flexibility.
"The one thing we said when we acquired Dee, we didn't want to jerk him back and forth," Dipoto said. "We don't want to move him around haphazardly. So giving him the opportunity to move in for a time, and then move back when that becomes a reality, is something we're committed to, if in fact he moves there full time.
"So moving outside, we can now look at the potential for second basemen, we could look at the potential for outfielders -- people who can help our team get better."
Gordon said he'll likely feel "less edge" when he's back at second, given he's been a shortstop or second baseman his entire career prior to this season. But he never spent time wondering if he might end up back in the infield once he was told he'd be playing center for Seattle.
"No, never," Gordon said. "I came here to help this team win. We've got some of the best players in the world on this team. I definitely never imagined this. I was all in on playing center field. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that some days, when it didn't go too well in center, that I didn't wish I was back at second. But this was the circumstance we have, and we just have to continue to move forward."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.