Gordon drops to No. 3 in Royals' order

Gordon drops to No. 3 in Royals' order

KANSAS CITY -- Alex Gordon, after 81 starts as the Royals' leadoff batter this season, is moving into the third slot.

"He's been good, but I think he'll be comfortable in the three," manager Ned Yost said. "In projecting long-term lineups, he'd be a guy that'd be in the middle of the order. We've struggled with production in that spot a little bit and we've got guys now I'm a little more comfortable with in the leadoff spot in [Jarrod] Dyson, [Lorenzo] Cain and [Chris] Getz."

Gordon has produced in the No. 1 spot. Since moving back there to stay on May 27, he had a .334 (97-for-290) average with a Major League-best 27 doubles. His on-base percentage of .379 for the season is fourth-highest among American League leadoff batters.

"He's not going to make a switch without letting me know, so [Wednesday] night after the game he called me in and asked me if I was OK with it," Gordon said. "I told him I was. I'm not a typical leadoff guy, I think everyone knows that, and [Yost] said maybe long-term this is a better fit for you."

Before Thursday night's game against the A's, Gordon had batted third just twice this year. But in his career, he's been there 122 times with a .251 average, 31 doubles, 15 homers and 66 RBIs. The move won't change his approach.

"I'm not going to go out there and try to get big and try to hit home runs just because I'm in the three-hole. Just going to put together solid at-bats and that's about it," Gordon said.

Looking into the future, Yost sees Alcides Escobar as continuing to hit in the No. 2 spot with Billy Butler batting fourth followed by, in no particular order, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer.

Moustakas hit in the three-hole for a while, but his average has slipped to .149 in an 18-game span.

"That's a spot in the lineup where there could be a lot of pressure, and we want to kind of take him out of that right now because he's really grinding those at-bats every day," Yost said.

Dyson was the leadoff batter on Thursday night, but Yost said that Cain and Getz likely would be used there as well. Dyson was riding an eight-game hitting streak (14-for-28, .500) and had 22 stolen bases to share with team lead with Escobar.

Yost believes that Escobar, although he doesn't possess Dyson's phenomenal speed, could steal between 30 and 40 bases in a season.

"Stealing bases is more about being smart than actual pure speed," Yost said. "You could take Usain Bolt out there and he's not going to steal any bases."