GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Hanley Ramirez has signaled to management with words and actions that he's all-in to play shortstop this year, so where does that leave Dee Gordon?
"Dee for me, I'm not going to forget about Dee," said manager Don Mattingly. "He's dynamic and he's going to be dynamic. Really, we probably had him here before he should have been here last year and he ended up paying a price. That's kind of on us. We've seen him struggle and have frustration in different areas, but part of that is our own fault for pushing him fast and getting him here before he was quite ready. I look at Dee with a world of talent. He's going to be great."
Just maybe not this year on this team. If Ramirez is the starting shortstop, Mattingly all but said Gordon would be returned to the Minor Leagues for continued seasoning.
"If it gets to that situation, you don't do a guy a whole lot of good sitting and watching games when he needs the experience of just playing," he said. "Young guys, you don't want them sitting on the bench. If that was the case, we'll do what's best for him and what's best for him in the long run."
Mattingly also changed the framing of the decision-making with Ramirez, who was told by management at the end of last season that he needed to improve his defense if he wanted to be the shortstop. Otherwise, he'd be moved to third base.
"We went to Spring Training with the idea of Hanley playing shortstop for us, and everybody is happy with the way Hanley looks," said Mattingly. "The only one to move Hanley is Hanley. As long as he's working, the feeling is he'll be fine and that's the way we're going. Anything can happen, different scenarios can change things, but I'm not going to move Hanley. Hanley is going to move Hanley, if he's going to get move."
And Mattingly indicated again there is no management sentiment that Gordon should be moved to the outfield, as has been speculated.