Marlins team president David Samson didn’t mince words Friday night when talking about all-star second baseman Dee Gordon’s 80-game suspension.
Samson professed to loving Gordon like a son, but he also used one very strong word to describe his feelings: “Betrayal.”
“Listen, it could have been a knee injury that could have kept him out for two and a half months,” Samson said in the Marlins dugout about 90 minutes before first pitch against the Brewers. “This is far worse, obviously, because this is a betrayal.”
Samson described his talk with Gordon late Thursday night after the Marlins had just capped a five-game winning streak with a four-game sweep of the Dodgers. He admitted to being upset with Gordon.
Never miss a local story.
“As I said, yes,” Samson said. “I absolutely love him like a son. I talked to him like a son last night and told him that I was very frustrated and hurt and that I didn’t like him at that very moment but I always loved him and will always.
“Now it is time to rehabilitate himself for his teammates and for his fans and for this organization.”
The Marlins are left to pick up the pieces. Instead of roaring into Milwaukee on a high, they were left to answer questions about how they’ll fill a hole at both second base and at the top of the lineup.
Friday’s answers were Derek Dietrich at second and Ichiro Suzuki in the leadoff spot.
The Marlins arrived in Milwaukee at 6 a.m. Having to play 13 hours later already presented a challenge. Having to answer questions about Gordon’s suspension made the challenge worse.
In a move quite unusual for the Marlins, the clubhouse was closed up for a team meeting until just two hours before first pitch. And it wasn’t open very long before Mattingly had reporters out in the dugout for his normal pre-game chat.
While players weren’t available for very long, Mattingly presented the situation as one of those “obstacles” teams encounter in a 162-game marathon.
“We just talked about what we’re going to deal with for the next two days, and that whatever you’re feeling is OK,” Mattingly said. “Some guys may be mad, they may be upset. Whatever they are is OK. But we really didn’t talk about it. For me, I love Dee. I treat him like my son, and I’m going to keep doing that. But we’ve got to keep moving forward as a team.”
With Gordon gone for half the season, the Marlins called Cole Gillespie up from Class AAA New Orleans.
The only regular player that talked in the clubhouse before the game was left fielder Christian Yelich, and his words were guarded.
“We can’t let it affect us,” Yelich said. “We’re coming off five straight wins against pretty good teams. We’ve got to carry that momentum here, and next man up.
“As a team, it’s 25 guys. We’ve all got to step up and do our jobs and keep playing good baseball.”
As for anything that might have transpired in the team meeting, Yelich wasn’t letting on.
“We’re going to keep all that in here,” he said, referring to the tight circle of players and team personnel. “We’ve dealt with it as a team. We’re going to keep all that in-house. We love Dee and support Dee, and we’re just going to keep that in here and move forward.”