Gordon to begin playing for Triple-A

Gordon to begin playing for Triple-A

ST. LOUIS -- Second baseman Dee Gordon, who has been training in Jupiter, Fla., will join Triple-A New Orleans on Monday to begin game action as he moves closer to being reinstated to the big league roster.

Gordon is winding down an 80-game suspension for violating MLB's PED program. The two-time All-Star is eligible to join the Marlins on July 28, when the club is at home against the Cardinals.

In recent weeks, Michael Hill, team president of baseball operations, and manager Don Mattingly have discussed how to ease Gordon back into game situations.

"Obviously, Dee's the Energizer Bunny in terms of what he brings to the club," Hill said. "But in his absence, a lot of guys have stepped up and been productive. I think you'll see Donnie mix and match and do some things to try to make sure that everybody stays fresh and healthy and remain productive."

Since Gordon's suspension began on April 29, Derek Dietrich has mostly filled in at second base.

The fact that Gordon isn't eligible for the postseason, should Miami make the playoffs, also is a consideration.

First and foremost, Mattingly wants to make sure the Gold Glove-winning second baseman and 2015 National League batting champion is ready.

"That's the main thing," Mattingly said. "In a sense, if you were looking at it like a rehab, 10 games is not a lot of games to be ready to play if you've been out for three months. I think the main thing is to try to ... make sure he's ready to play."

Gordon has appeared in just 21 games, and had a slash line of .266/.289/.340 with six steals and 13 runs scored before he was suspended.

"Being able to polish it off in 10 days, that's a challenge in itself," Mattingly said. "So that's our No. 1 goal, to get him ready. Then from there, we just figure out the best way to get him back being part of the club.

"He gives us a dimension we don't really have a ton of -- as far as [being] a guy who can create runs on his own -- what he does at second base, and things like that."

Having Gordon back will improve the depth of the club.

Dietrich has stepped up, and he could even see some time at first base, especially since Justin Bour is on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle.

Bour is eligible to return on Monday, but Mattingly said he still is dealing with some soreness, so he likely will miss more time.

As far as figuring out playing time, Mattingly noted that the organization will cross that bridge later.

"So how do we blend that mix together, and keep going to where we want to go, and keep everybody part of that mix?" Mattingly said. "Those are things we have to balance as we move forward."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.