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Sports

Gordon leads Royals

March 16, 2011

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— If spring training is any indicator, Alex Gordon may be headed for that breakout season Kansas City has been waiting on since drafting him second overall in 2005.

Gordon hit a two-run homer in the seventh to lift the Royals to a 4-3 victory over an Oakland Athletics split squad Tuesday.

Gordon went 2-for-3 to hike his average to .367. He also has drawn a Cactus League-leading 11 walks and has a .558 on-base percentage.

Gordon moved from third base to left field last season and had more at-bats with Triple-A Omaha than Kansas City. He floundered in the majors, hitting .215 with 20 RBIs and 18 extra-base hits in 74 games.

After beginning spring training 1-for-13 — the lone hit a broken-bat single — Gordon is 10-for-17 (.588) and leads the Royals with three home runs and 12 RBIs.

“Alex has got it pretty dialed in,” manager Ned Yost said. “It’s hard to predict when exactly it’s going to click for somebody. Alex has really worked his tail off this winter with Seitz (hitting coach Kevin Seitzer). I mean, everyday in the cage, revamping his swing.

“When he got here, the timing was off. I always had the feeling if the timing got right, look out. We’re seeing a little bit of that right now. He needed to see some consistent at-bats.”

Nate Adcock, a Royals Rule 5 pick from the Pittsburgh Pirates, made his first start and threw three scoreless innings, giving up three hits. He yielded a leadoff double to Conor Jackson in the second, but stranded him at third base.

“That was very impressive,” Yost said of Adcock’s performance.

Adcock has pitched eight scoreless innings in five appearances.

“It’s getting a little more exciting,” Adcock said of his opportunity to break camp with the club. “Every time you take the mound, you know you’ve got an opportunity to make the club and help the club out. I will say on the first pitch my heart was pounding and my adrenaline was going. After the first pitch, I calmed down.”

Adcock has never pitched above Class A, going 11-7 with a 3.38 ERA as a starter last season in the Florida State League.

“My mentality right now is home plate and the pitching rubber has not changed, it’s 60 feet, six inches,” Adcock said. “It’s just different hitters, but I try not to look at the names, but at the catcher.”

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