Royals' Gordon shoulders blame for hitting woes
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It doesn't make any sense.
Alex Gordon, one of the Royals' top hitters the last few years, has been entrenched in a horrible slump virtually from the day the greatest hitter in Royals history took over as hitting coach.
The facts are right there to observe: Gordon was hitting .335 and among the league leaders when George Brett took over as hitting coach on May 30, but has hit just .187 since.
Gordon's average has dipped to .274, its lowest point since the season-opening series in Chicago.
"I've heard that statistic (.187), too," Gordon told FOXSportsKansasCity.com. "But George being hitting coach has nothing to do with it.
"At the end of the day, it's your career. It's your job. You are who you are, no matter what hitting coach is around. I'm just not playing well and not doing my job well. Simple as that."
The irony is that Brett has worked tirelessly with Gordon during that span. The two go through a series of hitting drills each day in the inside cages, long before Gordon and his teammates actually take batting practice on the field.
Gordon perhaps is the most intense worker on the Royals' team, and he said viewing Brett's work ethic the last two months has made him want to push even harder.
"I see how hard he works," Gordon said of Brett. "He comes to the park and really goes after it, nonstop. His shirt is always drenched and I know he cares a lot. He knows how to put in the work. I have to do the same."
But is it possible Gordon needs to take a step back and simply give his body a break?
"If I was over-working I would stop," Gordon said. "I know my body. I know how much I can handle."
Reaching for some connection between Brett's presence and Gordon's slump is a waste of time, Gordon said.
"People are going to say what they want to say," Gordon said. "You just focus on what you can control in here. You can't pout about it. Let people say what they're gonna say.
"You just get back to work and get yourself out of it."
To be truthful, Gordon and Brett have worked together for years during spring training when Brett makes his annual trek to Surprise, Ariz., to serve as the team's unofficial roving hitting instructor.
"I've worked with George every year, so it's not like we started from ground zero," Gordon said. "And it's not just George. We got George and Pedro (Grifol) as hitting coaches. We got two guys who know what they're talking about. I've enjoyed it, working with them.
"They're doing all they can. As a hitter, you take responsibility for what you're doing or not doing."
So, does Gordon have any idea why he is struggling so much?
"I can talk to you about mechanics but sometimes it's just mentality, just having confidence," he said. "You can talk mechanics all day but if you don't have confidence, mechanics won't help.
"I'm not saying I don't have confidence, but it comes down to just getting it done. I'm not doing that for whatever reason.
"I've always said you're going to have your ups and downs but you try to stay the same person. But at the end of the day, you have to worry about winning and that's all that matters."
Manager Ned Yost did not start Gordon on Wednesday night, simply to give him a break. Gordon found out he was going to sit out Wednesday's game after Tuesday night's game.
"Usually that's what good managers do -- I was told the night before," Gordon said. "Luckily, we got guys who can step up."
Yost said a mini-break for Gordon was much needed.
"He needed a day off," Yost said. "We only got two days off in the next 50. I've got to find time for him and for Sal (Perez) to get a break.
"Alex didn't have a normal All-Star break. Monday and Tuesday are crazy (for All-Stars during that week), then he's got to get his family back home Wednesday and travel. Really, he just got one day off during the break. He needs this."
Gordon, though, said lack of rest is no excuse.
"I'll be the first one to tell you that I'm not swinging it like I should be," Gordon said. "I'm not swinging like a leadoff man should. I got the day off today, slash, benched. That's what I call days off -- being benched. Hopefully I'll get it straightened out tomorrow."
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org