Gordon back in lineup, feeling good

Gordon back in lineup, feeling good

CLEVELAND -- Third baseman Alex Gordon is back in the Royals' lineup and doing well.

Gordon returned in the Royals' 13-3 victory over the Indians on Sunday after sitting out 20 games because of a hip flexor injury.

In his first at-bat, Gordon belted a double to left field and ran hard and well to second base. He also singled later and finished 2-for-5 at the plate.

Even more indicative of his good health, in the ninth inning, he dove behind third base to snare Franklin Gutierrez's hot shot, then jumped up and threw him out. Gordon was pleased because he dove off his right leg, where a muscle had been torn, with no ill effect.

"He looked good, considering it's so long since he's had at-bats, and defensively he moved great," manager Trey Hillman said. "When he popped up on the diving backhand, I said, 'I'm going to go out on a limb and say that torn muscle is feeling pretty good.' "

At bat, Gordon felt his timing wasn't that sharp.

"[It was] a little off. I didn't see live pitching that whole time, so I got a couple lucky hits and my confidence is up," he said.

Gordon, who'd been out since being injured during the Royals' previous Cleveland visit, was activated on Friday night but did not play in the first three games of the series. The field was wet and Hillman didn't want to risk a re-injury. The field was relatively dry Sunday.

Outfielder Mitch Maier, meantime, got a day off Sunday after returning from a cheekbone fracture by playing in both games on Saturday. He lashed a hard single in his first at-bat, then went hitless in his next seven tries.

Maier had been out since Aug. 20 when, squaring to bunt here, the right side of his face was smashed by a pitch. So just getting back in the batter's box was a challenge.

"No flinching," he said. "I even tried to bunt. It's something you have to do eventually, so you might as well try it."

He passed the test.

"I was a little anxious and nervous," Maier said. "Who wouldn't be?"

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