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06/27/07 5:08 PM ET
Notes: Gordon settling in with Royals
Youngster proving critics wrong, hitting .409 since early June
By John Klima / Special to MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- It's probably not a coincidence that the Royals entered Wednesday afternoon's series finale at Angel Stadium of Anaheim one victory shy of the organization's first winning month since July 2003, while at the same time, Alex Gordon discovered his Major League comfort level.
With victories in the first two games of the series against the Angels, the Royals moved their June record to 13-11, which is two wins more than they had in April or May. The 23-year-old Gordon went 2-for-5 and had his first career four-RBI game Tuesday night. It's part of a stretch in which Gordon has found his stroke after a slow start.
It's an old scouting axiom that would probably get a nod of approval from Royals GM Dayton Moore: the bat can't hide forever.
Gordon was hitting .172 on June 4, but entered Wednesday's game with a .238 mark, a 66-point upswing in three weeks. He's also stabilized defensively at third base, and suddenly, the Royals like the look of a player they believe has the bat and glove to be a franchise cornerstone.
"Alex has been really good for the last month and a half or two months," manager Buddy Bell said. "That's great, because this is a kid that had to read and listen to all the stuff about how he shouldn't be in the big leagues. Who's to say who's ready for the big leagues? It takes time. This kid had to deal with a lot of negative reporting, and he didn't change from one day to the next. That's how solid he is mentally."
Gordon has let his bat do the talking. He brought a seven-game hitting streak into Wednesday's game --- his second such streak this month -- and rebounded from a 1-for-17 start to the month. He's hitting .409 since that time.
"A lot of it is staying with what got you here," Gordon said. "It's nice to help us get going and get some wins."
Utilityman Ross Gload, on the disabled list since May 14 because of a right quadriceps tear, will begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment later this week at Triple-A Omaha, the Royals announced. Gload's progress sped past that of Reggie Sanders, who has been on the disabled list since May 3 with a left hamstring tear. Sanders hit before the game but said that he will probably not go out on a Minor League assignment.
Bell said the Royals probably won't get Sanders back until after the All-Star break.
Butler celebrates, sort of:
Outfielder Billy Butler, a 21-year-old rookie, didn't get a chance to call home after hitting his first Major League home run Tuesday night, a line drive to left-center field against Angels right-hander Ervin Santana.
"It means a ton to me," Butler said. "I haven't talked to my parents yet because it was a late game on the East Coast, and we had to be up early for the day game. So I'll probably talk to them after the game today."
Teahen close to home?
If Mark Teahen is invited to the All-Star Game on July 10 in San Francisco, an added bonus for him will be that it will be a collegiate homecoming.
Teahen played college baseball at St. Mary's College in Moraga, a school with a baseball tradition that dates back to the turn of the 20th century and produced, among others, Red Sox Hall of Fame outfielder Harry Hooper and pitcher Joe Oeschger, who pitched all 26 innings for the Boston Braves in a pitching duel that is the longest game in Major League history. Teahen was drafted out of St. Mary's in 2002.
"It'd be in the West Coast, which would be nice. I'd love it. It would be great because some people who are important to me can be there."
Up next: After on off-day Thursday, the Royals open a nine-game homestand at 7:05 p.m. CT on Friday against the White Sox with righty Brian Bannister (4-4, 3.78 ERA) on the mound against Chicago righty Jose Contreras (5-8, 4.63).