Dee reinstated by Marlins, apologizes to fans

Dee reinstated by Marlins, apologizes to fans

MIAMI -- Remorseful and ready to turn the page, Dee Gordon returned to the Marlins on Thursday after serving his 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

The two-time All-Star second baseman was embraced by his teammates and inserted into the leadoff spot in the lineup for the series opener against the Cardinals at Marlins Park. He went 0-for-4 in Miami's 5-4 loss.

"I'm excited," Gordon said in his first public interview since being suspended. "For the last two and a half to three months, my teammates have played great. They've played superb. I'm just happy to come back to a positive locker room and be with my brothers and just getting to play."

Earlier in the day, Gordon issued a video apology before rejoining the team.

"I know you guys look up to me. I know, man. I let you down, and I'm sorry," Gordon said, addressing fans through the video. "I'm committed to this game, and I will return the support I received from Miami. ... I'm going to continue to smile, though, and I'm going to continue to have fun playing this great game."

Without going into specifics about what he did or why, Gordon accepted his punishment and said he is ready to move on, and he doesn't plan on addressing his suspension after Thursday.

"I did what I had to do," Gordon said. "I served my suspension. I took full responsibility for it. I'm going to get past this. After today, I want to be done. I just want to put that jersey on and get back on the field and be done with it. My family's been great. The Marlins have been great. I think I did a pretty good job of staying out of the way and working my tail off."

The Marlins reinstated the 28-year-old second baseman, who won the National League batting title and led the Major Leagues in hits and stolen bases last season, from the restricted list Thursday afternoon. To make roster space, the club designated infielder Don Kelly for assignment. 

"It is the end of his suspension. He has served it," Marlins president David Samson said of Gordon on Wednesday. "He will be welcomed back into the clubhouse."

Manager Don Mattingly had said he planned on "blending" Gordon into the lineup, especially since Derek Dietrich had picked up the slack nicely at second base.

On Thursday, Mattingly sounded like Gordon would be getting his share of playing time.

"I'm going to put a lineup out there every day that we think gives us the best chance to win," Mattingly said. "We'll take care of today and not worry about tomorrow because we've kind of learned over the years, tomorrow has got a set of worries all of its own."

The Marlins are in the thick of the playoff race, but if they reach the postseason, Gordon will not be eligible.

"I'm just going to worry about today," Mattingly said. "These guys are excited to have Dee back. We're going to try to put a lineup out there that gives us a chance to win every day. That's what we're here to do. We'll cross the next bridge when we get there."

Dietrich started at first base on Thursday, and he is expected to see action at the position against right-handed pitching until Justin Bour (right ankle sprain) comes off the disabled list. Bour, who took BP with the Marlins on Thursday, is scheduled to go on a rehab assignment at Triple-A New Orleans on Friday. The club is targeting Bour rejoining the club next week against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Gordon was suspended on April 28 after being found to have violated Major League Baseball's joint drug agreement, and since July 18, he had been on a rehab assignment with New Orleans.

"We're a forgiving people," Gordon said. "There's nothing more I can tell you other than it's my fault and no one else's fault. As a professional athlete and as a man, you get complacent and things happen. That's what happened."

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.