Poised Gordon impresses in camp

Poised Gordon impresses in camp

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Alex Gordon has made it all look so easy.

So far in Spring Training for the Royals, he's batted .367 (18-for-49). That includes "B" games. In the regular Cactus League competition, he's at .351 (13-for-37).

"It might look easy, but it's not that easy," Gordon said. "The other day was a pretty hard game and we got a lot of bumps and bruises."

Oh, yeah, he had some other things to do between smacking three hits against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Like playing first base.

"Luis Gonzalez and I kind of ran into one another in a first-base collision and I pretty much just had a bruise on the arm," Gordon said, "but nothing big."

Then he went over and played third base for a while. Busy kid. Talented kid. Poised kid.

"I think being in the spotlight all year with a college team helped him," center fielder David DeJesus said, of the University of Nebraska product.

Gordon, the Royals' highest draft pick in their history at No. 2 last June, has been so impressive that he survived the 12-player cut on Monday. The plan is still to have him start the season with Double-A Wichita as the third baseman.

"I hope they don't move him up too quick and mess him up," said one Royals veteran.

Gordon didn't play after the College World Series until $4 million coaxed his signature and an assignment for the Arizona Fall League. There he got in just 16 games and hit .260 with nine RBIs and two home runs.

But he really took off this spring.

"It takes a while to get comfortable at the plate when you take a long break. But over the weeks, it just seems better and better every day," Gordon said.

"I think the fall league was the biggest help for me -- going out and playing against great competition. I kind of gained a perspective of what was to come."

Gordon, a third baseman at Nebraska, was tried at first base in Arizona and got great reviews.

"I would like to play third, of course, but if the team needs a change and it helps the team out, then I'm all for it," he said. "Whatever is best for the team."

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First base proved no traumatic experience.

"It comes pretty easy. It's just like switching to the other side and putting a bigger glove on," he said.

And, for those fans who might envision him at second base, forget it.

"I have the body of a catcher so I don't think I could play the middle of the infield. I'm far too big," he said.

Big enough to hit the ball even farther as he develops.

"I think I have power. It really hasn't showed in the 'A' games as much as I'd like it to, but I think it'll come around," Gordon said.

"I'm not going to press or anything. I'm just going to use the same swing and it'll come around."

Now, before long, he'll be wearing the uniform of the Wichita Wranglers in the Texas League.

"I have a lot of buddies going over there, and I think we have good chemistry for that team," he said. "I think we're going to be a good-hitting ballclub with a lot of talent."

Among his teammates is expected to be another first-round draft pick from the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, left fielder Billy Butler.

"I played with him in the fall league. Good guy," Gordon said. "He's a nice guy and we want to get along. He's a great hitter and it's just amazing to watch him take BP sometimes."

There's a chance that Gordon eventually might wind up with the Omaha Royals at the Triple-A level, not far from his Lincoln home.

"He can live with me," said pitcher Joe Nelson, already assigned to Omaha.

Gordon just smiled.

"I'll show him the ropes," he said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.