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.

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.