Alex Gordon feels good after taking live BP for first time since wrist surgery

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Good news for the defending American League champion Royals (it’s so much fun to say that), as Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that outfielder Alex Gordon took live batting practice today for the first time since right wrist surgery in January.

Gordon said he felt no discomfort in his wrist, even on a check swing, which is an encouraging sign. He’s expected to play in minor league intrasquad games on Tuesday and Wednesday before potentially making his Cactus League debut. There’s still plenty of time for him to get at-bats before Opening Day.

Gordon, 31, batted .266/.351/.432 with 19 home runs and 74 RBI across 156 games last season and took home his fourth straight Gold Glove Award. This is a big season for him, as his contract with the Royals includes a $12.5 million player option for 2016. He could decline the option and land a lucrative multi-year contract on the open market.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).