Alex Gordon takes live batting practice for the first time since suffering groin injury in early July

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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.

Nick Pivetta to rejoin Phillies’ rotation

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Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Nick Pivetta will rejoin the Phillies’ rotation, starting Tuesday’s series opener at home against the Cardinals. Vince Velasquez will remain in the bullpen.

Pivetta, 26, allowed 17 earned runs on 31 hits and eight walks with 16 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings across his first four starts of the season. The performance resulted in a demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In six starts there, Pivetta had a much better 3.41 ERA with a 50/20 K/BB ratio in 37 innings of work.

Velasquez, 26, was solid as a starter, posting a 3.99 ERA across six starts. However, he averaged under five innings and 92 pitches per start. The right-hander tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Friday against the Brewers but was torched for four runs in two-thirds of an inning on Sunday. Mixed results, to say the least. The Phillies are trying to do what they can with their bullpen, currently missing David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, and Vìctor Arano.