Alex Gordon hopes to be cleared for throwing and batting practice early next week

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Royals outfielder Alex Gordon needed an extensor retinaculum repair on his right wrist in early January, but he is aiming to be fully recovered by the beginning of the 2015 regular season. And his recovery has gone according to plan thus far.

Gordon will have a checkup early next week with Royals team physician Dr. Bruce Toby and the 31-year-old is hoping that he’ll be cleared during that visit for throwing and batting practice — the two biggest tests of his surgically-repaired wrist.

“It might be a little slow getting back into it,” Gordon told beat writer Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star on Tuesday afternoon. “But I’m confident when Opening Day comes, I’ll be fine.”

Gordon batted .266/.351/.432 with 19 home runs and 74 RBI in 156 games last season for the American League champions, earning his second career All-Star nod and fourth straight Gold Glove.

Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife gives birth

Zack Wheeler miss starts
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Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.

Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”

Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.

The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.