But the Dodgers manager sure came close.
Gordon, the Dodgers' highly touted rookie, has been on a tear this month, hitting .373 and sporting an eight-game hitting streak heading into Thursday's game against San Francisco.
"He's played himself into basically being the shortstop," Mattingly said. "Anything can happen over the winter -- you break a leg or something, it changes things. At this point, I'd have to say that Dee's looked really good. He's probably a part of that mix. I don't know if I can quite say right now, but I look at it like he's the shortstop."
Gordon is hitting .294 this season, with 23 steals in 49 games. With speed as the biggest part of Gordon's game, Mattingly said over the course of a full season, Gordon's stolen-base number should be in the 60s.
But Gordon said he isn't looking at himself as the 2012 shortstop heading into the offseason. He'll go about his normal routine as if he were fighting for a spot.
"You've got to keep playing, man, you never know," Gordon said. "I'm just going to keep playing hard, and we'll see what happens out of Spring Training."