Royals outfielder Alex Gordon vows his wrist will be ready for opening day

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SURPRISE, Arizona — Alex Gordon's season ended stranded on third base for the final out of Game 7 of the World Series. After having wrist surgery this winter, he vows he'll be in the Kansas City Royals' lineup for the start of this season.

Gordon missed time in July with an injured right wrist and it flared up during December workouts.

"That's when we decided we needed to take care of it," Gordon said. "I'm not glad that it happened. But if I didn't take care of it, who knows what would have happened during the season if it would have come back."

Manager Ned Yost said the four-time Gold Glove outfielder would be held out for the first week of spring training games.

"We're to the point now where we're trying to back him off a little bit," Yost said. "He feels really, really good and that's a good sign."

Gordon was cleared Monday to begin a throwing program and he took 15 swings Tuesday.

"Fungo (bat), no ball involved, just getting that motion back," Gordon said. "I haven't swung a bat since October. Its baby steps for sure. Hopefully if everything goes well, every day is a better day."

Gordon hit .190 with one home run in September and .205 in 15 playoff games, but said the wrist was not the issue for his poor finish.

"Not at all," Gordon said. "Besides the 10 days I had to sit out during the All-Star break, that's when it was really bothering me. After that it was come-and-go pain, but it was tolerable and it wasn't something that affected me when I went out on the field. Just because I had a down September, it wasn't because of the wrist. It's just baseball. I just didn't do as well as I did in the earlier months."

In the final season of a four-year $37.5 million contract with a $13.25 million player option for next year, the 31-year-old Gordon hit .266 last season, while leading the team with 19 home runs and a .432 slugging percentage. He said he planned on picking up the option last year, but is backing off that after winning his fourth straight Gold Glove and making his second All-Star team in a row. Another solid year and he could price himself out of a return to the team that drafted him second overall in 2005.

"I don't pay any attention to my contract," said Gordon. "Everybody keeps asking me about my contract. Honestly, the way last year went and how fun it was, the contract is the last thing on my mind. What is in my mind right now is getting ready for the season. Contract stuff, besides you guys asking me that, I never think about it. I never talk about it."

For now, he's focused on being in the lineup April 6 against the White Sox and starter Chris Sale.

"Chris Sale? My wrist might be sore that day. Just kidding," Gordon joked.

NOTE: Newcomer Kendrys Morales and shortstop Alcides Escobar were the final two arrivals, with 65 players suited up for the defending American League champion's first full-squad workout.

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