NEW ORLEANS -- Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon's much-awaited return had to be put on hold an extra 24 hours because of rain, and when the night finally came against the Sacramento River Cats, it wound up being cut short after he had to exit the second game of a
NEW ORLEANS -- Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon's much-awaited return had to be put on hold an extra 24 hours because of rain, and when the night finally came against the Sacramento River Cats, it wound up being cut short after he had to exit the second game of a doubleheader with a cramp.
Gordon, who received an 80-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Agreement, had to leave in the fourth inning of the second game after stumbling out of the box on a grounder to short.
He ended his night 0-for-5 between both games and had four putouts in the field, including a running catch in the second game where he covered more than 100 feet of ground on a fly ball in foul territory. The teams split the doubleheader with Sacramento, winning the first game, 1-0, and the Zephyrs taking the second, 3-0.
"We didn't know when he came out, and he wasn't sure when he came out, but he cramped up in the heat," said manager Arnie Beyeler. "He'll be out to take some grounders [Wednesday] and hopefully will be ready to go then. He's been working out in Jupiter [Fla.], but you can't simulate the intensity of games. It's a little different animal in a live game, but we'll test it out tomorrow, and if it's not good we'll give him a day or two."
Gordon went 0-for-3 at the plate in the first game and had two putouts. He snared a line drive with the bases loaded in the sixth and covered a popup to shallow center that ended the seventh. At the plate, he grounded out to second twice and had a potential hit taken away on a play made in the hole at short by Kelby Tomlinson with the game still scoreless in the sixth.
"It looked like he hadn't played in a while, but he had some good at-bats and fouled a lot of balls off the at-bat before he came out," said Beyeler. "You don't really get into a lot of rhythm in seven-inning games, but he squared a couple of balls up and made a nice defensive play in the second game. It's fun to watch him play and for the guys to get to see what that looks like."
How things will shake out once Gordon does return to the parent club will be a balancing act. Gordon is ineligible for the postseason, and Derek Dietrich is currently hitting near .300 with the Marlins as the everyday second baseman. What is clear is what Gordon does offer, which was put on full display in 2015: speed that puts tremendous pressure on opposing defenses and a strong glove of his own, which earned him his first Gold Glove last season.
Gordon's last live action in a game was on April 28. At the time of his suspension, he was batting .266 with five RBIs, 13 runs, three doubles and two triples. Gordon had also hit safely in 16 of his first 21 games, including a pair of three-hit games to start the year. Gordon is now hoping to capture the form that led him to a batting title and a season in which he crested 200 hits.
"I think it's different for everyone that first game back. For Dee, being a speed guy, it's getting his legs going," said Beyeler. "You can run sprints and jog around the bases as much as you want, but when the adrenaline gets going and the fast twitch kicks in, it's different. He just has to get back into the swing of things."
Gordon is eligible to rejoin the Marlins on July 28.
Emmanuel Pepis is a reporter for MLB.com.