MIAMI — Dee Gordon walked into the Marlins clubhouse four hours before game time and was greeted at his locker by a 3-foot-high stack of boxes — bats, gloves, shoes and more, all new.
"Three months of stuff," he said.
That's how long he had been gone. Gordon returned Thursday from an 80-game suspension for a positive drug test and was in the lineup against the Cardinals, batting leadoff and playing second base.
In conjunction with his reinstatement, Gordon issued an apology on social media addressed primarily to his young fans.
"I know I let you down, and I'm sorry," Gordon said in a video. "Complacency led me to this, and I'm hurt. I urge you guys to be more responsible than I am about what goes into your body. I wouldn't wish this on anyone."
Gordon, who won the NL batting and stolen base titles last year, was suspended in late April after testing positive for two performance-enhancing drugs.
At the time, Marlins president David Samson said Gordon had betrayed the team and fans. Now, Samson and the Marlins say they're glad to have Gordon back.
"We're a pretty forgiving society," Samson said. "It's important Dee ask for that forgiveness, and he has, and he'll receive that. He's got to continue to work to get himself back in with his teammates and the fans, and my son."
Teammates have said they're glad to have Gordon return. Manager Don Mattingly said he has the backing of the clubhouse and organization.
"Obviously there was disappointment early on, and then you really want to support him from that point forward," Mattingly said. "He has been remorseful. He has paid his price."
GIANTS DEAL FOR INFIELDER: San Francisco acquired INF Eduardo Nuñez from the Twins for minor-league LHP Adalberto Mejia. Nunez, an All-Star this season, is batting .300 with a .326 on-base percentage and a .444 slugging percentage in 90 games.
METS: 3B Jose Reyes missed his third straight game with a strained left ribcage.
PHILLIES: OF Aaron Altherr was reinstated from the disabled list after missing the first 103 games with a broken left wrist. OF Peter Bourjos went on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder sprain.
RANGERS: OF Josh Hamilton said he is feeling no pain seven weeks after extensive left knee surgery. He said he expects to be ready for spring training.
ROYALS: RH reliever Luke Hochevar went on the 15-day disabled list with symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome.