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Gordon encounters bumps learning the outfield

Speedster back in lineup after early exit from Friday's game
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

CLEVELAND -- Dee Gordon's transition to center field has come with a few bumps along the way and added in a bruising thump on Friday when he slammed into the center-field wall at Progressive Field after his knee gave out as he attempted to time up a leap for a home run sailing overhead.

But after being removed from that 6-5 loss in the seventh inning, Gordon checked out OK with the doctors and won't miss any additional time.

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CLEVELAND -- Dee Gordon's transition to center field has come with a few bumps along the way and added in a bruising thump on Friday when he slammed into the center-field wall at Progressive Field after his knee gave out as he attempted to time up a leap for a home run sailing overhead.

But after being removed from that 6-5 loss in the seventh inning, Gordon checked out OK with the doctors and won't miss any additional time.

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"I'm good," Gordon said prior to Saturday's game. "Something happened weird. It just felt funny. It didn't pop or anything. I went to jump, and it just kind of buckled under me."

Friday's game was another adventure in Gordon's learning curve in center. He has made some nice catches in center field, used his outstanding speed to track down balls in the gaps and displayed a strong throwing arm when needed.

But having played shortstop and second base his entire pro career until this spring, Gordon is learning on the fly and hiccups are inevitable. He got turned around and slipped on the warning track on a fifth-inning play Friday that turned into a triple by Michael Brantley on a ball over his head, but said that wasn't the issue when his knee buckled.

"I tripped earlier on the track," he said. "I don't think I tripped that time."

Gordon has worked tirelessly at learning his new position with outfield coach Chris Prieto since the day the Mariners acquired him from the Marlins in December and those lessons continue.

"He's got a lot of pride and wants to be more than just adequate defensively," manager Scott Servais said. "I know he and Chris after the game last night were looking at video of some of those plays. That is the toughest play, the ball right at you, over your head. Which way are you going to turn? Which way is the ball spinning back and stuff?

"I have no worries about Dee Gordon. He's going to be just fine out there. But as I've said all along, there are going to be bumps in the road and that's what we've seen once in a while."

For Gordon, the winter practice repetitions were helpful, but the only way to get better now is to play and continue learning on the job.

"You have to experience it in the game," Servais said. "The velocity, the ball off the bat, you're positioned differently with different guys. The more he's out there, the better he's going to continue to get."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB

Seattle Mariners, Dee Gordon