Q&A with Kansas City's Alex Gordon
Royals third baseman is off to a better start than in 2007
Entering the Royals' weekend homestand against Toronto, Alex Gordon was batting .317 with three home runs and 10 RBIs -- a far cry from last season when he struggled out of the gate as a highly-touted rookie. The second overall selection in the 2005 First Year Player Draft, Gordon rebounded and finished the season hitting .247 with 36 doubles, four triples, 15 home runs, 60 RBIs and 60 runs scored while stealing 14 bases in 18 attempts. A native of Lincoln, Neb., the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Gordon recently answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:
MLBPLAYERS.com: Can you talk a little about your club's start to this 2008 season?
Gordon: So far, so good. We've struggled the past few days, but overall it's been a lot better April so far than last year. Our pitching has been extra special with the way Zack Greinke and Brian Bannister, in particular, have thrown the ball. Up and down the rotation, you can look at the success, and it has made the game a lot easier to this point. Good pitching helps the position players quite a bit. Offensively, I don't think that we have broken out yet. We know we will score runs. The pitching has been outstanding, though, and that has helped us stay in games.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How are you feeling at the plate?
Gordon: I think I'm swinging the bat well. I feel good up at the plate. I've had some ups and downs so far, but overall I think I am having a pretty good start. Hopefully I keep this up throughout the year.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How do you compare this start to last April when you struggled as a rookie?
Gordon: Once I got off to a slow start last year, I think I started pressing. I tried to put an end to my slump in one game. This year, the start has been better -- I'm not pressing and I'm having a lot of fun.
MLBPLAYERS.com: When you evaluate your success at the plate, do you look at any one thing in particular?
Gordon: It's when I'm not trying to do too much with a pitch. It's when I take what the pitcher is giving me. If they work me outside, then I will take a single the other way. I've been focused on taking it one at-bat at a time and not trying to do too much.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Where have you hit in the lineup?
Gordon: I've shuffled around a bit. I started the season hitting in the three hole. That lasted a few games, and I have been hitting sixth lately.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Are you glad you are no longer a rookie?
Gordon: It was fun to be a rookie. I was able to turn things around halfway through the year, and I ended up having a good year. Being off to a good start in this, my second season, is great.
MLBPLAYERS.com: With your being a rookie last year, did your teammates take any liberties?
Gordon: I don't think I got it too bad compared to what I have heard about guys in the past. I seemed to avoid it for the most part but I did hear about it at times.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Being a native of Nebraska, did you follow the Royals a lot growing up?
Gordon: I did a little bit, mostly when I was young. Kansas City was the closest team to our house with it being a three-hour drive. We would go and watch them play. I remember those days, and members of my family were big fans.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How good is the baseball program at the University of Nebraska?
Gordon: It certainly helped prepare me for where I'm at now. I don't think I would be here if I didn't go to college. I learned a lot off the field in terms of how to take care of myself. I learned a lot being on my own. College was a great stepping-stone. I would not change a thing about it.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Any particular studies in college that were your favorite?
Gordon: School in the classroom wasn't too nice to me, but I do enjoy math. That was probably my favorite class.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.