Alex Gordon to begin minor league rehab assignment on Sunday

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The Royals own the best record in the American League at 73-46. And they are about to get even stronger.

According to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star, Royals manager Ned Yost said this afternoon that Alex Gordon will begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Omaha.

Gordon has been sidelined since July 8 with a Grade 2 strain of his left groin. There’s no clear timetable in regard to how many rehab games he’ll need, but it’s reasonable to expect him to return around when rosters expand on September 1.

Gordon was having one of his best seasons at the plate prior to the injury, batting .279/.394/.457 with 11 home runs and 39 RBI over 78 games. Ben Zobrist has seen some playing time in left field since coming over from the Athletics at the trade deadline, but he figures to be the regular second baseman down the stretch.

Cubs acquire Martín Maldonado from the Royals

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Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.

Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.

Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.