BALTIMORE -- Anyone expecting to read that Royals outfielder Alex Gordon has made some dramatic mechanical changes that seem to have resurrected his offense will be greatly disappointed.The truth is, Gordon's incredible turnaround in the last two weeks has been the result of some very minor tweaks.Since coming off the
BALTIMORE -- Anyone expecting to read that Royals outfielder Alex Gordon has made some dramatic mechanical changes that seem to have resurrected his offense will be greatly disappointed.
The truth is, Gordon's incredible turnaround in the last two weeks has been the result of some very minor tweaks.
Since coming off the disabled list on April 24, Gordon is hitting .368 with three home runs. He is batting .313 for the season, his high-water mark since June 6, 2013. He went 0-for-2 with two walks in Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
The stunning turnaround comes after Gordon hit .220 in 2016 and .208 last season while many baseball observers wondered if his days of being an offensive force were over.
But Gordon began working on a more disciplined approach last September (he posted a .990 OPS during a 20-game stretch then), trying to lay off certain inside pitches that were handcuffing him. He spent the offseason working on the same approach.
Then two weeks ago, Gordon began to alter his setup ever so slightly, first moving his hands farther away from his body.
"It gives him a little easier launch position," Royals hitting coach Terry Bradshaw told MLB.com.
Secondly, Gordon has been tilting his bat at approach slightly toward the umpire. Gordon said he has patterned it somewhat after Jason Kipnis of Cleveland and former teammate Eric Hosmer.
"It just relaxes the hands," Gordon said. "It allows me to feel the barrel."
Gordon also said he is consciously trying to keep his hands -- and arms -- on a more extended path through the hitting zone, as opposed to pulling them inside and shortening his swing.
"I think the key is just to keep the bat in the zone longer," Gordon said. "Good things happen."
Bradshaw said he has spent very little time discussing mechanics with Gordon.
"We just go do the work," Bradshaw said. "It's nothing I can take credit for. It was his idea. And right now, it's going good. Don't fix it if it's not broke."
Royals Honorary Bat Girl
During their Mother's Day game, the Royals will wear newly designed caps highlighted by a pink crown and team color brim, while club uniforms will feature a pink ribbon on the left chest. A matching pair of pink socks is optional for every player. Louisville Slugger will donate proceeds from the sale of their pink bats, which will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo, to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer. MLB will again donate its licensed uniform royalties through Mother's Day apparel to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer.
Also, each team will have an honorary bat girl. For the Royals, it will be Mila Ellsworth of Olathe, Kan. She will be a bat girl during Monday's game at Kauffman Stadium.
Ellsworth, a local standout softball player and coaching legend for over 17 years, was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2015 at the age of 36. She has since undergone a lymph bypass surgery due to lymphedema, but she continues to be monitored by her doctors.
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.