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tk13
06-24-2005, 01:30 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/11971227.htm

Gordon could begin career in Wichita if he signs soon
Kansas City Star

DENVER — Forthcoming negotiations between the Royals and first-round draft pick Alex Gordon will include an interesting subtext: The club intends to fast-track Gordon’s career by starting him at Class AA Wichita — but only if the two sides reach a quick agreement.

“If he signs soon,” general manager Allard Baird confirmed, “I’ll send him to Double-A. Then he’ll go to the Arizona Fall League. But let me make this clear: This is not a negotiation.

“What I’m saying is he has survival skills, because of his plate discipline, to handle Double-A. Will he be challenged? You bet he’ll be challenged. The difference between Double-A and college baseball is night and day.

“But he has the plate discipline and the maturity necessary to handle it, and I would not be afraid to put him there. We see this as a developmental move, not some sort of signing bonus.”

Gordon, a third baseman, was the second overall pick in the draft and generally viewed as the nation’s top college player. He batted .382 at Nebraska with 18 homers and 62 RBIs in 67 games.

Formal negotiations didn’t begin until Nebraska was eliminated Tuesday from the College World Series. In fact, Baird said the club tried to limit its contact until that time.

“His focus needed to be on playing,” he said. “We felt very strongly about that. Now, we go into the period of negotiating and, hopefully, get him out playing as soon as possible.”

Baird said protracted negotiations would result in Gordon starting at a lower level.

For women only

Manager Buddy Bell must need a break from reviving the Royals’ on-field performance because he plans to conduct a 3½-hour clinic for women July 23 at Kauffman Stadium.

Bell will join other Royals in offering one-on-one instruction on hitting and fielding. The event, for women age 16 and older, will run from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The registration fee is $75. Registration is available online at www.kcroyals.com and by calling Royals Charities at (816) 504-4308. Registration forms must be received by July 18.

Up next: Rockies

The Royals, for the first time since April 11, are playing a team with a poorer record. They open a three-game series tonight in Denver against Colorado, which owns baseball’s worst record at 22-48.

The Rockies had an open date Thursday, like the Royals, after completing a 1-8 road trip through Cleveland, Baltimore and Houston. They are 3-9 this season against American League teams.

The season has been a disaster from the start for Colorado, which lost eight of its first nine games. First baseman Todd Helton, a .335 career hitter, remains mired in a seasonlong slump. He is batting just .252 with six homers and 27 RBIs. Former Royals utilityman Desi Relaford is batting .260 with one homer and 14 RBIs in 52 games.

Minor details

■ Lefty Chris George allowed just one run in 6 2/3 innings Wednesday after relieving Denny Bautista and got the victory when Class AAA Omaha beat New Orleans 4-3. Bautista allowed one run in one inning in his first rehab assignment.

■ Billy Butler has no errors through three games in left field after switching from third base at Class A High Desert. He went one for three in a 4-2 loss at Modesto. Right-hander Billy Buckner gave up three runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings and got his first loss in three decisions since his promotion from Class A Burlington.