Gordon eyes hot start entering shorter season

July 10th, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- In a 60-game sprint, it could all come down to quick starts, for teams and players. And that might suit veteran Royals outfielder just fine.

Gordon’s bounce-back season in 2019 -- 13 home runs, 76 RBIs, .345 OBP -- was triggered by a ferocious start. Through May 19 last season, he carried a .917 OPS.

Gordon and the Royals know there’s no time to have a bad April, or in this case, August. There simply isn’t time to recover.

“I think everyone kind of knew that coming in,” Gordon said. “Maybe that’s to our advantage, if we can get off to a hot start. We have to look at the positives. Maybe we can get hot and get in the playoffs.”

Does Gordon think the Royals can be a sleeper in 2020?

“Maybe it gives some people outside our clubhouse the mindset we can do it,” Gordon said. “But we felt in Spring Training that we could compete. Does a short season help us? Sure. We’re coming off two straight 100-loss seasons, so maybe [a 60-game season] is a little boost, for sure. But like I said, we felt good in Spring Training.”

From what Gordon can tell, the Royals didn’t kick back and relax during the three-month MLB pause due to the pandemic.

“I don’t think anyone took time off,” Gordon said. “Everyone stayed in focus. We stayed ready, from what I can tell.”

And that included Gordon, though he admits the pause gave him a chance to do what he can’t really remember ever doing in previous springs: Hang out with his family.

“I always try to look at the positives,” he said. “I got to spend a lot of [the spring] with my family, which I haven’t done in 20 years or so. It was good, quality time. It opened my eyes to what it might be like when I’m done. I kind of enjoyed it. It put things in perspective.”

Gordon, 36, said in January, after signing a one-year deal with the Royals, that he didn’t consider this his last season. Has he changed his mind?

“Do I know if this is my last year? No,” Gordon said. “I kind of got a glimpse of what it might look like. We’ll see how this year goes.”

At any rate, Gordon has no regrets about coming back, even with the shortened season.

“I still felt I wanted to play,” Gordon said. “I still felt I could compete. I still do. Maybe not as good as I used to. But I can still play at a high level. And I still love the game.

“I will keep coming back if they want me.”