KANSAS CITY -- Royals Gold Glove outfielder Alex Gordon left Friday night's 3-2 win against the Orioles with tightness in his right groin, club officials announced.Gordon was pulled for rookie pinch-hitter Jorge Bonifacio in the bottom of the seventh. In the top of the seventh, Gordon lunged for a line
KANSAS CITY -- Royals Gold Glove outfielder Alex Gordon left Friday night's 3-2 win against the Orioles with tightness in his right groin, club officials announced.
Gordon was pulled for rookie pinch-hitter Jorge Bonifacio in the bottom of the seventh. In the top of the seventh, Gordon lunged for a line drive over his head hit by Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph. The club said Gordon, who went 0-for-1 with a walk and a strikeout, was pulled as a precautionary measure. He is listed as day to day.
Gordon, who batted ninth in the order for just the second time in his career, is hitting .157 with zero home runs, seven RBIs and an OPS of .464.
"Not swinging the bat well and not seeing it well," manager Ned Yost said. "He'll come out of it. ... He's gotten off to poor starts before."
Actually, since Gordon's breakout season in 2011 -- .303, 23 home runs, 87 RBIs -- he traditionally has been a quick starter. The next season, he started relatively slow, hitting .197 through 18 games. But Gordon got hot soon after and hit .294 for the season.
For the next three seasons, Gordon was a sizzling starter. It wasn't until 2016 when Gordon really got out of the gates slow. He was hitting just .211 in late May when he sustained a broken wrist. Even after returning a month later, Gordon never really recovered and finished at .220 with a .692 OPS.
Whatever has ailed Gordon offensively has hung around for over a year, though Yost disputes that last year was Gordon's fault.
"He was hurt last year," Yost said. "He had a reason for a down year."
Yost started the season having Gordon lead off. But since then, Yost has moved Gordon around in the batting order, hoping something will jumpstart him.
Asked if he'd seen any encouraging signs from Gordon at the plate lately, Yost admitted, "Not yet. [But] he's working on some things. He looks better in batting practice. But transitioning from BP to the game is a big thing."
Obviously, Gordon is making softer contact since 2015, when his average Exit Velocity was 88.1 mph, according to Statcast™. This year it is down to 86.2 mph.
And while Gordon is having trouble with fastballs (a .284 average in 2015, just .194 this season), his success rate against offspeed pitches is even more alarming (.246 in 2015, just .113 this season).
Gordon is fully aware of his struggles.
"Obviously, I'm not swinging it well," he said recently. " ... the last couple of weeks, I've been tinkering with some stuff [with my swing], just baseball stuff.
"Nothing major. Just stuff in the cage with [hitting coach] Dale [Sveum] ... it's a tough start, but I got to get out of it."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.