Adding power to speed, Gordon bulks up
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dee Gordon put on 13 pounds in the offseason. If that doesn't seem like much, it represented an 8 percent jump on the infielder's 162-pound frame of a year ago.
That extra muscle was on display Sunday when Gordon homered off Dodgers teammate Hyun-Jin Ryu on the second pitch of an intrasquad game at the team's Camelback Ranch complex.
"It was lucky. I just put a good swing on it, swung hard and it went where it went," said Gordon, who did not admire his blast and was rounding second base when the ball cleared the outfield fence.
"That's definitely not me; I was looking for a triple to be honest," he said.
Gordon weighed 135 pounds but listed himself at 150 when he signed in June 2008. He worked his way up to 145 pounds in the Minor Leagues.
"But I couldn't get to 150 to save my life until 2012," said Gordon, who played between 159 and 162 last season.
Gordon now sits around 175 as he tries to secure an Opening Day roster spot as a second baseman.
"I hit the ball a lot harder now; it shows," he said.
What would Sunday's home run have been a year ago?
"I only hit one last year, so I don't know," said Gordon, whose lone blast came in May against the Marlins. "It could have been a groundout to second, a double, whatever."
Gordon does not have a specific weight to work toward, and he will not risk any added mass slowing him down on the basepaths.
"As long as it doesn't mess with my speed," Gordon said. "Gaining strength is awesome, but my No. 1 tool is speed, so I want to make sure I'm ready to run. I also want to make sure I play 162 games."
Ryu also gave up a two-run homer to Hanley Ramirez as the White team, drafted by Matt Kemp, won the four-inning game, 3-1 over the Blue team drafted by Zack Greinke. The same two teams were expected to play three innings Monday.
"It was good to get out there, get some live ground balls with your teammates, talk trash," Gordon said.
Gordon came through the Dodgers' system as a shortstop. He was slated to play there every day in 2012 but struggled with a .228 average and .280 on-base percentage in 87 games. He fared a bit better (.234/.314) in 38 games last season.
But with second basemen Mark Ellis, Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker all gone, a new opportunity exists for Gordon.
"I like it. I'm getting comfortable every day," Gordon said. "The things I'm not as comfortable with, I'm working at all the time. The more comfortable I get, the better I'm going to play."
Being the Dodgers' starting second baseman on Opening Day is not a specific goal, Gordon said.
"My goal is to get on that airplane to Australia. That's it," he said.
It was pointed out that Gordon might be the only one looking forward to the transcontinental airplane ride.
"Yeah, everyone else has guaranteed money," he responded.