What was looking like such a promising start now seems a little bit like the first fifteen minutes of a horror movie, where everyone's safe and happy and unconcerned.
In a stunning development, what initially looked like a minor injury to Alex Gordon is now much more serious. As reported on various outlets, Gordon will need hip surgery:
Alex Gordon's right hip injury proved to be much more serious than imagined.
Gordon, the Royals' third baseman, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday with a labral cartilage tear of the right hip. He will undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair the tear on Friday by Dr. Marc Philippon in Vail, Colo.
The Royals said no estimate on how long Gordon might be out would be available until after the procedure. He was injured Saturday and missed the next two games but played the last two games.
This is not good, not good at all.
This is get out of bed news, which is exactly where I was... in a hotel room in Baltimore (I have an early flight out of BWI tomorrow) when I saw the news on Baseball Tonight. So here I am, in the "Business Center", posting to RR... what is this, 2002?
The Jose Guillen injury actually did not hurt the team much, but the combination of Guillen & Gordon being out means that Teahen moves semi-permanently to third, and a host of worse options will patrol Guillen's spot instead. Between the two moves, three positions -- right, second, and third -- all get weaker, as do Trey Hillman's options on the bench.
For the rest of Guillen's DL stint, we'll see a lot more Willie Bloomquist and Mitch Maier, as well as a full time helping of Callaspo.
Outfield is one issue, but the loss of Gordon is on another order of magnitude. There seems to be no indication that his presence on the 15-day DL is anything but a last gasp of hopefulness and or a procedural matter. Presumably, he'll still be very very very far from baseball activity in fifteen days.
Clearly, this is absolutely horrible news for the Royals. Horrible. It's difficult enough to imagine them having a good offense with Alex Gordon, but without him, yikes. Look, this is baseball, not the NBA or the NFL. Everybody bats, in order, every game. That's the rules. So yes, if all sorts of unrelated good things happen, the Royals could still field a good lineup. Its just everything is much less likely now. This is like walking into an Italian place and having the waiter say, "I'd stay away from the pasta tonight." I'd love to try to run the numbers regarding new lineup configurations and the cost in runs, but as I said, I'm in a hotel computer room right now.
Longer term, its also a potentially devastating turn, for the player and the franchise who have been desperately waiting for him to save them. This is (or should I say, was) Gordon's third Major League season and his age 25 campaign. Instead of potentially "turning the corner" or "taking the next step" or whatever cliche you prefer (hey, I'm an amateur here, man) there is now the possibility that we might simply have a lost year.
Nothing is definite yet, so keep hope alive. And even if he is gone, for a long time, guys have been known to step up: maybe Teahen finds a groove at third, Callaspo plays well at second, and Mitch holds down the fort until Guillen comes back and plays great. Maybe Butler breaks out irregardless of his prospect peer going down, and the team ends up winning because of its pitching anyway. Maybe.
Nevertheless, this may be the biggest Royal injury of the decade, ranking right there with Sweeney's various troubles during the miracle 2003 season.
ps- This offseason, in his Team Health Report, Will Carroll had some less than glowing things to say about the KC medical staff. Gordon was injured on Saturday, but played on Tuesday and Wednesday. Was his hip possibly made worse by Gordon continuing to play after the initial injury? Should he have been shut down earlier?