For the first time in 70 games left fielder Alex Gordon batted somewhere other leadoff Thursday against the As.
By MATT KELLEY and BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
Gordon batted third, a spot that manager Ned Yost said could be Gordons for the rest of the year.
We knew Gordy wasnt a prototypical leadoff hitter, but hes a guy who has high on-base (percentage) and puts the ball in play, Yost said. But we also think hes going to be a run-producer. He doesnt really get the opportunity to produce runs from the one hole.
Gordon has been one of the Royals few reliable bats since becoming the full-time leadoff hitter on May 27, hitting .334 with 27 doubles and a .500 slugging percentage over that stretch. Before settling into the leadoff spot Gordon was hitting .226 and had more strikeouts (43) than hits (40).
Despite his better performance in the leadoff role, Gordon is OK with the move and has said in the past that he likes batting third in front of designated hitter Billy Butler.
Ned called me in (Wednesday) night and talked to me about it to make sure I was OK with it. Its not like he just threw the lineup up there, Gordon said. Ive been in the one hole for a good couple months now, and a good skipper is going to come up and ask you if youre OK with it.
Gordon, a career .267 batter, has hit .251 in 122 games batting third, although many of those games were in 2008, his second pro season. Gordon hit .293 last year in 51 games in the three hole.
Its very foreseeable that Alex is going to be a run producer and is going to be a three-, four- or five-type hitter in our lineup, Yost said.
The move was made partially because Yost feels comfortable with center fielder Jarrod Dyson and second baseman Chris Getz and at times center fielder Lorenzo Cain as leadoff hitters.
Weve been struggling a little bit in the three spot, trying to get that settled down a bit, and we havent been able to, Yost said. We felt the time was right.
Hitters batting third for the Royals this year are last in the American League in on-base percentage (.293) and slugging percentage (.361), due mostly to the struggles of first baseman Eric Hosmer and the recent slump of third baseman Mike Moustakas.
Hosmer and Moustakas are a combined .164 when batting third this season.
Hos is, I think, going to end up being a three or four guy or even a five guy, Yost said. Moose, I think, will fit the five or six hole better. And Salvy will be in-between there somewhere.
Frenchy to receive award
The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association announced that right fielder Jeff Francoeur will be honored Friday as the Royals Heart and Hustle Award recipient.
The award will be presented in a pregame ceremony before Fridays series opener against the White Sox by former Royals closer Jeff Montgomery.
All 30 major-league teams have a Heart and Hustle Award recipient, and the MLBPAA will choose an overall winner on Nov. 13. Last years overall winner was Angels outfielder Torii Hunter.
Class AAA Omaha outfielder Wil Myers is one of five players nominated for recognition as the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year.
The others are right-handed pitcher Dylan Bundy (Orioles), shortstop Billy Hamilton (Reds), third baseman Mike Olt (Rangers) and outfielder Oscar Taveras (Cardinals).
Fans can cast their online vote at usatoday.com/sports/baseball.
It was 32 years ago Friday Aug. 17, 1980 that George Brett boosted his average to .401 by going four for four in an 8-3 victory over Toronto at then-Royals Stadium.
Brett drove in five runs in the victory. His two-out, two-run double in the seventh against Jim Clancy produced one of the iconic images in franchise history: Brett standing at second with his arms raised while the scoreboard in the background showed his average at .401.
Brett finished the season at .390, which remains the highest batting average by any player in a full season since Ted Williams batted .406 in 1941. San Diego outfielder Tony Gwynn batted .394 in the strike-shortened 1994 season.