Royals left fielder Alex Gordon left his club Sunday evening and began three days of paternity leave as his wife prepared to give birth to the couple’s first daughter.
Gordon was in the lineup Sunday afternoon as the Royals played the first game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins. Infielder Raul Mondesi was activated before the second game and took Gordon’s place on the roster. He finished 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and was optioned back to Class AAA Omaha after the game.
Right-hander Miguel Almonte, who was called up as the 26th man for the second game of the doubleheader, remained on the roster and headed to New York with the team on Sunday night. The Royals will open a four-game series against the Yankees on Monday.
Gordon’s wife, Jamie, is scheduled to give birth to the couple’s third child — and first daughter — on Monday. The Gordons have two sons, Max and Sam.
Gordon can spend three days on paternity leave, including Sunday. He is scheduled to return to the Royals on Tuesday or Wednesday in New York, manager Ned Yost said.
Mondesi, 21, returned to the big leagues after batting .324 with a .383 on-base percentage and a .937 OPS at Class AAA Omaha. He pieced together an 11-game hitting streak before his promotion on Sunday. Mondesi began the season as the Royals’ starting second baseman after winning the job in spring training. But he struggled at the plate during the opening month of the season, hitting .103 (4 for 39) in 14 games.
The Royals have outfielders Jorge Bonifacio and Jorge Soler to fill in for Gordon in left field. Second baseman Whit Merrifield can also play the outfield, though the departure of Mondesi leaves the team with just catcher Drew Butera and infielder Cheslor Cuthbert on the bench.
Gordon, 33, finished Sunday mired in the worst offensive start of his career, batting .175 with a .294 on-base percentage in 137 at-bats. He also is still looking for his first home run of 2017.
The Royals made two other roster moves on Sunday. The club designated reliever Al Alburquerque for assignment to make room for right-hander Jake Junis, who allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 6-4 victory in Game 1 of the doubleheader. Junis was optioned to Omaha before Game 2 to make room for starting pitcher Ian Kennedy, who returned from the disabled list.
Escobar sets club record
Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar made his 213th and 214th consecutive starts on Sunday, setting the franchise record. The previous mark was held by third baseman Paul Schaal, who made 212 straight starts in 1971 and 1972. Escobar finished 2 for 9 in the doubleheader as his season batting average dropped to .180.