KANSAS CITY -- It’s rare when a player actually admits he is trying to hit more dingers.
But that’s where Royals veteran Alex Gordon is right now. Gordon, who was off to a rough start in 2020, has looked far better at the plate lately: He is hitting .333 with two home runs over his past five games.
The turnaround may have started last weekend in Minnesota.
“I actually noticed it in batting practice in Minnesota,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “It almost looked like an angry BP, and he was launching balls. I think he just found a swing that felt right, not just pulling the ball but just having a swing where the ball carries.”
“Last weekend, I started to notice improvement in batting practice in Minnesota,” Gordon said, “just seeing the ball come off my bat better. Just felt more comfortable in the box. Hopefully that will continue, and I can contribute to this team winning. That’s all I want to do, be a bright spot in the lineup.
“I’ve been working with my hitting coaches and trying to be more of a power hitter than I’ve been in the last couple of years. ... I’m honestly not trying to think too much at the plate and just do damage. Singles up the middle will come ... [but] I want to keep driving the ball.”
Entering play Sunday, Gordon still was hitting just .200 with a .624 OPS. But he feels he is turning a corner.
“Sometimes this game is hard and it doesn’t always go well for you,” he said. “The only thing I’ve always known is to put my head down and work hard and get out of it. Even though my stats aren’t good, I’m feeling good right now.”
Matheny hasn’t named a starter for Wednesday's finale yet -- that normally would be Danny Duffy’s spot.
Duffy, though, came out of Friday’s game after 81 pitches, and his velo dipped a bit in his final inning. Matheny did not mention any specific injury with Duffy but seemed to suggest Duffy may get a couple more days of rest (Thursday is an off-day).