When the Royals expand their rosters on Tuesday, the first day of September, a three-time All-Star could lead the charge of call-ups. Manager Ned Yost indicated it was “reasonable” to expect outfielder Alex Gordon will return next week from his minor-league rehabilitation assignment with Class AAA Omaha.
As he returns from a severe groin strain suffered on July 8, Gordon has spent the past week with the Storm Chasers at home. The team departs on Tuesday for a road trip to Tulsa. Class AA Northwest Arkansas heads to Colorado Springs that same day. So barring a setback in Gordon’s rehabilitation, he should be back at Kauffman Stadium at the start of next week.
Assistant general manager Scott Sharp has been monitoring Gordon’s performance in Omaha. The reports filed back to the big-league staff have been encouraging, as Gordon hit .409 in his first six games for the Storm Chasers.
“He feels really good,” Yost said. “He’s running at about 90 percent, which is good. he’s taking walks, fouling off pitches, getting hits. He’s doing a lot of really good things. I just want to make sure that he’s ready when he gets here.”
Kansas City will be cautious with Gordon when he returns. With Gordon reclaiming left field, Ben Zobrist will become the primary second baseman. But Gordon will still only play four or five games a week, Yost said.
“This is kind of a one-shot deal,” Yost said. “If he comes back and hurts it, he’s done. So we want to make sure he’s in great shape, healthy and ready to go, when he gets back.”
Until then, Yost has given extended playing time to rookie Paulo Orlando. Before Zobrist arrived, Orlando faced left-handed pitchers as part of a platoon with fellow backup outfielder Jarrod Dyson. But Orlando received another start on Saturday against a right-handed pitcher.
Yost chalked this up to research for his playoff roster.
“I want to see Paulo,” Yost said. “I mean, I’m trying to formulate what we’re going to do in October. And I can’t do it with him sitting on the bench. I know what we’ve got in Dyson.”