Royals left fielder Alex Gordon made a significant stride Saturday in his recovery from a Grade 2 left groin strain, taking live batting practice on the field at Kauffman Stadium. It was his first live BP session since he landed on the disabled list on July 8.
“I still have a while,” Gordon told the Kansas City Star when asked about a timetable for his return to the Royals’ active roster. “There’s still a lot of things that I have to accomplish before I go out there. And with the team having the big lead like we have in the [AL Central standings], there’s no reason to rush it.”
Jarrod Dyson and trade deadline acquisition Ben Zobrist have been handling left field in Gordon’s absence.
Kansas City has the biggest division lead of any team at 10 1/2 games.
Royals left fielder Alex Gordon was carted off the field Wednesday night with what looked like a severe groin injury and sure enough the news is bad: He’s been diagnosed with a “Grade 2-plus” strain and is expected to miss eight weeks.
That puts Gordon’s potential return date around mid-September, leaving little room to return this season if he suffers any setbacks and little room to make a big impact for the Royals even if he avoids further delays. He’ll also miss the All-Star game after being voted in as a starter for the American League.
It’s a big loss for Kansas City. Gordon is hitting .279 with 11 homers and a team-high .852 OPS and he also leads the otherwise free-swinging lineup with 39 walks. Beyond that, he’s among the best defensive outfielders in baseball and plays a big part in the Royals’ outstanding run prevention.
Jarrod Dyson can replace the great defense and will bring a lot more speed to the lineup than Gordon, but the Royals will miss his bat and patience at the plate.
An inside-the-park homer is rare. Two inside-the-park homers is crazy. Indeed, before last night it hadn’t happened since 1997. Logan Forsythe of the Rays and Jarrod Dyson of the Royals each did it last night.
Forsythe’s is nothing to celebrate, of course, as it came on the play where Alex Gordon was injured. He could be out months and it could greatly affect the playoff race. I imagine even Forsythe isn’t terribly happy to have his homer under such circumstances.
Dyson’s, in its own way, was made possible by the Gordon injury inasmuch as he wasn’t in the game until he came in to replace him in left field. His inside-the-parker was a function of a couple of misguided plays on defense that did not quite rise to the level of errors, which is often the case. A dive that maybe shouldn’t have been dove/diven/dived, chief among them.
Still, the box score rules all, and in the box score these were both inside-the-parkers.
Royals outfielder Paulo Orlando made sure his team didn’t get worn out prior to the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Rays. With the game knotted up at 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth in game one, Orlando slugged a walk-off grand slam to left field off of Brad Boxberger to send the Royals to a win.
Orlando is hitting .248/.279/.410 on the year with two home runs and 11 RBI in 117 plate appearances.
Things haven’t been going well for the Rays. They lost seven games in a row prior to Sunday’s win, and have lost three of their last four games in walk-off fashion. As a result, they’ve gone from first to third place in the American League East with a 43-42 record, tied with the Blue Jays, behind the Yankees and Orioles.
Meanwhile, the Royals’ last three wins have been of the walk-off variety. They walked off on Friday against the Twins on a Jarrod Dyson RBI fielder’s choice, and on Sunday against the Twins again when Eric Hosmer hit an RBI double.
Kansas City’s new right fielder, Alex Rios, has been diagnosed with a fracture in his left hand and is out indefinitely after being hit by a pitch from Twins reliever J.R. Graham on Monday.
Rios came to the Royals via free agency as the replacement for Norichika Aoki, signing a one-year, $11 million contract following a poor, injury wrecked season with the Rangers.
He managed just four homers and a .398 slugging percentage in 131 games last season, but the Royals were hoping he still had some gas left in the tank at age 34 and Rios was off to a good start with nine hits–including a homer–through seven games.
Speedy part-timer Jarrod Dyson figures to see a lot more action in the Royals’ outfield with Rios out. Dyson, who frequently entered last year’s playoff games as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner, is a career .257 hitter with a .336 slugging percentage. However, he does a decent job getting on base and once there he has 50-steal speed.