All signs pointing up for Gordon except HRsBy BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Should left fielder Alex Gordon or the Royals be concerned that his 39-game surge since returning to the top of the lineup includes just one home run in 179 plate appearances?
Im trying not to think about it too much, he said. Id like to hit a few more homers. Im capable of that. But I dont want to think about trying to hit homers because I think that will hurt me in other areas.
This might be a case of nit-picking.
Gordon is batting .329 since his May 27 return to the leadoff role with 16 doubles a pace that would result in 66 doubles if projected over 162 games. The club record is 54 by Hal McRae in 1982.
More important, Gordon has a .413 on-base percentage in that span that, entering Sunday, would have ranked second in the league were it a season-long achievement. Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer began the day at .417.
Gordons surge has his overall average up to .274 with a club-leading .365 on-base percentage after standing at .227 and .322 prior to resuming his role as the clubs leadoff hitter. But he has just five homers after hitting a club-leading and career-best 23 in 2011.
Gordo is a guy who is capable of hitting 20 homers a year, manager Ned Yost said. So its a little bit of a concern but, right now, hes doing such a good job at everything else.
From where he was at the beginning of the year, to get his average back to .274, is a real accomplishment. Hes been getting on base and if he keeps getting on base at the pace hes been getting on base, its going to be pretty good.
Right-hander Luke Hochevar reported no problems with his sprained right ankle after throwing his regular between-starts bullpen workout before Sundays game.
Barring renewed complications, Hochevar should be ready to pitch Saturday, as scheduled, against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.
Hochevar suffered the injury last Thursday in Toronto when he rolled his ankle while covering first base on a grounder in the fifth inning. He finished the inning, which enabled him to get the decision in a 9-6 victory, before leaving the game.
Yosts tentative plan is to start Bruce Chen on Friday against the White Sox in the first game after the All-Star break. Hochevar and Luis Mendoza are slotted for the series final two games.
Jonathan Sánchez and Everett Teaford are the tentative choices to open a four-game series next week against Seattle before the rotation turns over to Chen.
More on Moore
Catcher Adam Moore, acquired Saturday on waivers from Seattle, isnt viewed as an immediate alternative to Brayan Peña as the backup to Salvy Perez.
Yost characterized the move as one designed to acquire a catcher with major-league experience, who had options remaining, to serve as insurance in case either Perez or Peña suffer an injury.
The Royals optioned Moore, 28, to Class AAA Omaha following the successful waiver claim. He has a .197 average in 234 career at-bats over parts of three big-league seasons but missed much of the last two years because of injuries.
Moore missed nearly all of last season after suffering torn cartilage in the right knee in early April, and he broke a bone in his right wrist earlier this year in March while blocking the plate in spring training.
The Royals reached an agreement with left-hander Austin Jackson, an 18-year-old from Houston whom they selected in the 16th round of the June draft.
Jackson received a $350,000 signing bonus, which is $250,000 above the $100,000 limit for players selected after the 10th round. That overage must be applied to the clubs $6,101,500 bonus pool and pushes the Royals over the limit by $138,500.
That means the Royals must pay $103,875 luxury tax 75 percent of the overage.
Jackson is the 31st of the clubs 40 draft players to reach an agreement. Other signings are still possible before the deadline at 4 p.m. Friday.
The Surprise Royals of the Arizona Rookie League surrendered 17 runs to the Brewers in the first inning Saturday in a 23-8 loss at Surprise Stadium.
The Royals burned through three pitchers in the first inning, when the Brewers sent 22 batters to the plate. There were 12 hits, five walks, a hit batter, two errors and a balk.
Right-hander Juan Gutierrez faced the first six hitters and allowed five runs on four hits. Gutierrez, 28, is a former big-league reliever who signed last December to a minor-league contract after missing most of last season because of a shoulder injury.
Two 2011 draft picks, Christian Witt and Stephen Lumpkins, closed the inning. Witt allowed eight runs, all unearned, on five hits and two walks in one-third of an inning. Lumpkins gave up four runs on three hits and three walks before getting the final out.
The Royals scored six runs in the bottom of the inning and still trailed by 11.
It was 41 years ago today July 9, 1971 that Fred Patek became the first player in Royals history to hit for the cycle. All four hits came against Twins right-hander Jim Perry, the brother of Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, in a 6-3 victory at Minnesota.
Patek had a double in the first inning, a single in the second inning, a triple in the fourth inning, a fielders-choice grounder in the seventh, and a two-out homer in the ninth.
There have been five other cycles in franchise history. John Mayberry did it in 1977, while George Brett (1979, 1990) and Frank White (1979, 1982) each did it twice.