Alex Gordon has thrived as the Kansas City Royals’ leadoff hitter, but for the remainder of the season he will be hitting third.
Gordon was moved to the third slot in the order Thursday against the Athletics, while Jarrod Dyson batted first. Gordon went 0-for-4 and struck out in the 3-0 loss to the A’s.
“We felt the time was right to go ahead and put Alex in that spot and ride it out for the remainder of the year,” manager Ned Yost said. “You look at our lineup and project our lineup out in the future, I mean it’s very foreseeable that Alex is going to be a run producer, be a 3-4-5 type hitter in our lineup.”
Gordon hit .334 with a .398 on-base percentage since returning to the leadoff spot on May 27. For the season, Gordon is hitting .307 (103-for-335) with a .379 on-base percentage as the leadoff hitter. Gordon is hitting .250 (34-for-136) when he bats somewhere else in the lineup this year.
Yost said he has no concerns Gordon can handle batting third.
“He’s a good hitter,” Yost said. “It doesn’t mean you’re only a good hitter in the one spot or the ninth spot. (Alcides) Escobar’s numbers were good in the nine slot. We moved him to the two spot and he’s been fine.”
Gordon is 1-for-13 with no extra-base hits in four games batting third this year. His career average as a No. 3 hitter is .248 (120-for-483) with 31 doubles, three triples and 15 homers.
Another reason for giving Gordon an extended tryout as the No. 3 hitter: The Royals have received little punch from their No. 3 hitters this season. They are hitting .221 (104-for-470) with 17 home runs and 57 RBI.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit in the three slot, trying to get that to settle down a little bit, and we haven’t been able to,” Yost said.