WASHINGTON The Dee Gordon that Don Mattingly remembers with the Dodgers not so long ago isn’t the same player he sees now with the Marlins. Gordon is not only bigger, he’s also much better.
“He’s physically stronger,” Mattingly said. “I think when we had him, he was 145 [pounds]. He was skinny.”
The Marlins list Gordon at 170 pounds. The reigning National League batting champion is off to another hot start, going 6 for 11 in the Marlins’ first two games.
Mattingly, who was Gordon’s manager with the Dodgers from 2011-14, said “the swing was good at that point” but that he lacked size and strength.
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“I didn’t see Dee all year last year,” Mattingly said. “I just think Dee’s brimming with confidence and what he can do. There’s no more doubting, does he belong? I think the strength and experience came together, and all of a sudden we’re seeing this guy.”
KOLEK HAS SURGERY
Former first-round draft pick Tyler Kolek, the Marlins’ top pitching prospect, will be out an estimated 12 to 18 months after undergoing surgery for a complete tear of his ulnar collateral ligament on Wednesday.
“The surgery went well,” said Michael Hill, the Marlins’ president of baseball operations. “The timing of it, for him, when we get back to spring training, should see him off the mound next year and build him up to pitching in 2017.”
Kolek, a 20-year-old righty, was the second overall pick in the 2014 draft.
CHEN ON SCHEDULE
Wei-Yin Chen remains on schedule to make his next start even though Mattingly said the pitcher’s bruised left elbow hurt worse Thursday than it did the day before.
“He’s sore today,” Mattingly said. “Actually, a little more sore [Thursday] than he was [Wednesday]. But we kind of expected it.”
Chen was struck by a line drive just below his elbow in the season opener on Tuesday. His next start is scheduled for Monday in New York. Even with an off day scheduled for Friday in Washington, Mattingly said he’s sticking with his rotation in its current order.
“Everybody’s staying on line,” Mattingly said. “Nobody’s getting bumped up. I haven’t heard one pitcher getting an extra day [of rest], ever. Nobody ever complains about getting that extra day.”
▪ The three runs given up by Adam Conley in the first inning of his rain-shortened outing on Thursday marked the first time he had ever given up runs in the first inning. Conley had made 11 previous starts without allowing a run in the first.
▪ Friday: Off.
▪ Saturday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (11-14, 4.08 ERA in 2015) at Washington Nationals RHP Joe Ross (5-5, 3.64 in 2015), 4:05 p.m., Nationals Park.