Hailed as the second coming of George Brett when the Royals selected him with the second overall pick of the 2005 draft, Alex Gordon will have to settle for becoming the next Amos Otis now that Kansas City has moved him from third base to the outfield.
Gordon, who was named the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week on Monday, has been on a tear since he was sent to Triple-A, and left field, on May 4.
The 26-year-old went 1-for-3 with an RBI single and two walks in Omaha’s 6-5 loss to the 51s (17-22) at Cashman Field on Monday. He’s batting .362 (17-47) with five homers and 13 RBIs in 13 games this season for the Royals (17-19).
“Moving to the outfield is a good move. I like it,” said Gordon, who last played left field as a high school freshman in Lincoln, Neb. “Ever since last year, after I had (hip) surgery, I wasn’t playing third base as good as I probably should’ve.”
Kansas City is hoping the move to the outfield will help Gordon at the plate.
“He looks a lot more relaxed just from playing left field,” Omaha hitting coach Tommy Gregg said. “He can enjoy playing defense now where before it was probably a stress on him playing third base.”
The only player to earn Baseball America’s College Player of the Year and Minor League Player of the Year honors in consecutive seasons, Gordon hit .325 with 29 homers and 101 RBIs in 130 games for Double-A Wichita (Kan.) in 2006.
He started the next season with Kansas City and had two decent years — batting .247 with 15 homers and 60 RBIs in 2007 and .260-16-59 in 2008 — before injuring his hip on Opening Day last year.
After recovering from surgery to repair a labral tear, the left-handed hitting Gordon batted .313 in 18 games for Omaha in his first foray to Triple-A.
But he only hit .232 with six homers and 22 RBIs in 49 games for the Royals.
Gordon suffered another setback on March 6, when he broke his thumb making a headfirst slide into second base during Kansas City’s third Cactus League game.
He rejoined the Royals on April 17, but batted .194 with one RBI in 12 games.
Gordon appears to have regained his stroke at Omaha, though, something he attributes to getting consistent at-bats.
“It’s just about playing every day and getting some repetitions,” he said.
n NOTES — Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Marc Rzepczynski will make a major league rehabilitation start today for the 51s. He fractured the middle finger on his pitching hand March 30 in his final spring start. Bryan Bullington, a former no 1 overall pick who played for 51s last year, missed Monday’s scheduled start for Omaha after he was called up by Kansas City. The Blue Jays placed outfielder Travis Snider on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right wrist. The former 51s slugger is hitting .378 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 12 games in May and .241 overall with six homers and 15 RBIs in 33 games.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at email@example.com or 702-383-0354.LAS VEGAS 6
KEY: Chris Lubanski launched a solo homer in the eighth inning to give the 51s a 6-4 lead.
NEXT: Royals (RHP Anthony Lerew) at 51s (LHP) Marc Rzepcynski), 10:30 a.m. today, Cashman Field, KBAD-AM (920)