Gordon adds weight, ready to compete at second base

Gordon adds weight, ready to compete at second base

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Dee Gordon debuted in the Major Leagues in 2011, he weighed 144 pounds. He reported to camp early on Tuesday at an all-time high of 173.

How did he do that?

"I eat six meals a day," he said. "I've done this on my own. I just want to be stronger. I was nervous that it would slow me down, but I played in Puerto Rico and I saw that nothing happened to my speed. That was a relief. And I'm hitting the ball with more authority."

Gordon comes to camp with an outside chance of being the starting second baseman, competing with a lengthy list of candidates that includes Cuban Alex Guerrero, Justin Sellers, Chone Figgins, Justin Turner, Brendan Harris and Miguel Rojas.

"You know his speed can play," said manager Don Mattingly. "Can he make the everyday play and get on consistently to let his speed play? Inconsistency has been the biggest thing."

Two years ago, Gordon came to camp as the starting shortstop, after a dynamic debut in 2011 that led the Dodgers to trade away Rafael Furcal and clear a spot for the son of Tom "Flash" Gordon.

"I feel like I can be a good shortstop, but I can play a great second base," he said. "If they let me play, they'll have a good second baseman and a great hitter at the bottom of the order to set the table at the top."

In hindsight, the Dodgers believe they rushed Gordon, compounded by a bad thumb injury he suffered in 2012 when Hanley Ramirez was acquired and put Gordon's shortstop days in jeopardy. Gordon doesn't buy into the "rushed" theory.

"I thought I learned a lot coming into last year but this year, honestly, I can say I'm ready to play at a high level," he said. "I couldn't say that in 2012 or last year. I didn't do anything to make myself better. I wasn't ready to rise to the occasion and that was my fault. That won't happen again."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.