Dee Gordon back with Dodgers, but mostly as pinch-runner

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Dee Gordon was the Dodgers’ starting shortstop from Opening Day through early July, when a torn thumb ligament sent him to the disabled list.

While he was out Los Angeles traded for Hanley Ramirez, leaving Gordon without a job now that he’s finally healthy. He was activated from the 60-day disabled list yesterday, but manager Don Mattingly explained to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that Gordon is unlikely to do much beyond pinch-running down the stretch.

Gordon wasn’t exactly thriving before injuring his thumb, hitting just .229 with a .280 on-base percentage and .282 slugging percentage in 79 games. He did steal 30 bases at a 79 percent clip and made some highlight-worthy plays defensively, but the jury is still out on whether he can be a top-of-the-lineup asset offensively and his overall defensive numbers aren’t pretty.

Or as Mattingly put it:

This is a guy that needs to get on base better. He’s got to make better decisions, as far as the speed of the game, when do I try to make a great play, making that bread-and-butter double play.

Mattingly went on to say that “personally I think Dee’s going to be a great player” because “he brings something that no one else can bring.” That vote of confidence doesn’t mean much for the rest of this year, but if the Dodgers shift Ramirez to third base next season Gordon could be back as the primary shortstop.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.