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.
With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.
Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.
The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.
Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.