MILWAUKEE -- The news of Dee Gordon's 80-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy happened so suddenly after Miami's 5-3 win in Los Angeles that the Marlins barely had time to process the news Thursday night.But after a long, cross-country flight led to an early Friday morning arrival
MILWAUKEE -- The news of Dee Gordon's 80-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy happened so suddenly after Miami's 5-3 win in Los Angeles that the Marlins barely had time to process the news Thursday night.
But after a long, cross-country flight led to an early Friday morning arrival in Milwaukee, members of the organization came to Miller Park ready to shift focus back to baseball.
• Gordon suspended 80 games
"Listen, it could have been a knee injury that could have kept him out for 2 1/2 months," Marlins president David Samson said. "This is far worse, obviously, because this is a betrayal. I'm just talking about in terms of time."
Samson spoke with Gordon on Thursday night and described the second baseman as "very emotional."
Coming off winning a National League batting title in 2015, Gordon signed a five-year, $50 million contract with Miami in January.
"I absolutely love him like a son," Samson said Friday. "I talked to him like a son last night and told him that I was very frustrated and hurt and that I didn't like him at that very moment, but I always loved him and will always. Now it is time to rehabilitate himself for his teammates and for his fans and for this organization."
Instead of the focus being on Miami's current five-game winning streak, Samson said "everyone was in shock" in the clubhouse Thursday night.
The Marlins held a team meeting Friday prior to opening a three-game series with the Brewers at Miller Park.
"It is a team," Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich said. "It is 25 guys. We all have to step up and do our jobs to keep playing good baseball. That's what we're going to do. We're going to come in here and play hard in Milwaukee. That's how we're going to deal with it.
"We've dealt with it as a team. We're going to keep all that in house. We love Dee, support Dee. We're just going to keep that in here and move forward."
Gordon was allowed to play Thursday against the Dodgers because he initially appealed the suspension. He dropped the appeal after Thursday's game. The 28-year-old was hitting .266 with five RBIs and six stolen bases in 21 games this season.
"I don't think you try to replace Dee," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "What these guys have been building is that we are a team. In a sense, if Dee would have torn a knee up or something else, we could be in the same scenario.
"We aren't just going to throw in the cards. As we prepared for the season, you don't know what's going to happen. Teams that are going to go forward are going to have to go over obstacles, around obstacles and under obstacles. That's what this team is going to have to do. We can't let anything stand in our way."
Mattingly is confident his team will be able to handle the emotional and mental blow that comes with losing a player the caliber of Gordon for an extended period of time.
"I think it's an area to watch, but I think we've got a very mature young group," Mattingly said. "They went through some things last year. When I talked with this group after getting this job, I was pleasantly surprised at the confidence that they all showed and that they came together at the end of last year. They want to be a good team. They have the opportunity to be a good team. When you have that belief in yourself, I think you know that you don't let anything get in your way.
"We love Dee and we are going to support Dee from the standpoint of a person. He's part of our family. We also know that these guys have a goal. For us to accomplish those, we can't go moping in the games. Nobody is going to feel bad for us."
Andrew Gruman is a contributor for MLB.com and covered the Marlins on Friday.