SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers badly wanted Dee Gordon to spend this season in the Minor Leagues and rehab his game after a wasted, injury-plagued 2012. But when the facts changed, the club changed its mind.
So Hanley Ramirez's second major injury this season, compounding an epidemic of ailments, plus the offense's inability to score runs prompted management to try Plan B on Saturday by recalling Gordon from Triple-A Albuquerque to replace Ramirez, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring suffered Friday night.
Mattingly indicated that Plan B could have another component if Gordon is successful -- finally allowing Ramirez to move to third base when he's healthy.
"Sure, I could go with that," Mattingly said. "I could see that. If a guy's doing well, we'll try to find a place for him.
"We wanted Dee to get a full year to work on his game and then be part of what we're doing. But now guys have gotten hurt and this is where we go. It's out of need that he's here. I don't want that to sound bad. He was down more about maturity, offense and defense and when to run. But we had to bring in an infielder with what's going on here and it's him right now."
Mattingly conceded that if Luis Cruz were hitting more than .098, the club might not have turned to Gordon.
Gordon started Saturday night batting eighth, with Mattingly saying he wants to keep Carl Crawford in the leadoff spot because he possesses the power, along with the resume, that Gordon lacks. Gordon has shown an improved eye at the plate this year, although his defense remains erratic.
He was hitting .314 in 25 games with 19 runs, 14 steals, 14 walks and a .397 on-base percentage, but also had committed eight errors.
He was told of the callup Friday night, saying he was "ready to play the way I play, to play hard and help the Dodgers win."
He also said the recent Twitter and Internet reports of him taking ground balls at second base were completely misguided.
"I was helping a guy who got tired, just spelling him on about 10 balls, and then I get in trouble for it," Gordon said, apparently scolded by management for even taking grounders at the position. "I'll never take ground balls there again."
Justin Sellers, who took over shortstop after Ramirez needed thumb surgery in late March, is on the bench for now, although Mattingly said he wouldn't hesitate using him. When Ramirez hurt his thumb, Mattingly said he turned to Sellers for his defense.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.