AL Notes: Royals, Gordon, Yanks, BoSox, Holt

Royals left fielder Alex Gordon has considered retiring after 2019, the last guaranteed season of his four-year, $72MM contract, Rustin Dodd of The Athletic reports (subscription required). That decision’s on hold for the time being, but now the question is whether the career-long Royal, 35, will finish the season with the club. Gordon has gotten off to such a superb start this year that Dodd notes he could emerge as a viable in-season trade candidate for the rebuilding Royals. But Gordon has 10-and-5 rights, meaning he’d be able to kibosh any trade, and his lofty salary ($20MM this year and a $4MM buyout in 2020) further complicates matters. While Gordon was an indispensable piece for the Royals in his younger days, his production has fallen flat since he received his contract. However, as Dodd explains, Gordon may have revived his career thanks to a mechanical adjustment he made last August. Gordon ended 2018 on a positive note and has come back with a vengeance this year, evidenced by his .356/.456/.667 line with three home runs and more walks (seven) than strikeouts (five) in 57 plate appearances. He has already totaled 1.0 fWAR, compared to a paltry 0.5 in 1,057 PA from 2016-17.

Now the latest on a few other AL notables…

  • Big-ticket offseason pickup James Paxton has struggled so far as a member of the Yankees, which led the left-hander to talk with his sports psychologist, Sweeny Murti of WFAN tweets. The former Mariner revealed he had been putting too much pressure on himself to succeed with his new team, though he now believes he’s on the right track. Paxton also found out from Yankees special advisor Carlos Beltran that he was tipping his curveball grip in his most recent start, an ugly showing in Houston on April 10. He’ll attempt to incorporate Beltran’s advice against Boston on Tuesday.
  • Speaking Sunday with reporters, including Bryan Hoch of MLB.com and Erik Boland of Newsday, Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks said he feels “great” and could take on-field batting practice in the next week. There’s still no timetable for his return, though. Hicks has been dealing with a lower back issue since early March, shortly after the Yankees inked him to a seven-year, $70MM contract extension. Although his absence has deprived the Yankees of one of the game’s preeminent center fielders, battle-tested reserve Brett Gardner has delivered passable offensive production (90 wRC+ in 61 plate appearances) in his stead.
  • Red Sox utilityman Brock Holt is eligible to come off the 10-day injured list Monday, but he won’t return until at least “late in the week,” Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com writes. Holt, who has been on the IL since April 6 with a scratched right cornea, will see a doctor Tuesday and could then embark on a rehab assignment. Prior to his injury, the 30-year-old Holt got off to a slow start, as have fellow Red Sox second basemen Dustin Pedroia and Eduardo Nunez.

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