Yunel Escobar leaves game with hand injury

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Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar was forced out of tonight’s game against the Rockies after being hit on the left hand with a fastball thrown by Jon Garland. Escobar left immediately and Ryan Roberts came in to take his spot on first base. After the inning, Roberts took over at second base and Ben Zobrist moved from second to shortstop.

Escobar was struggling, entering the night with a .174 average and .507 OPS. He is listed as day-to-day according to Mark Topkin. The Rays could continue to use Zobrist at short and Roberts at second, or they could use Kelly Johnson — who has logged 78 defensive innings in the outfield — at second as well.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.