Notes: Gordon feeling better after scare
Bannister fine after being struck; Grudzielanek progresses
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The news on Alex Gordon was much better on Sunday than after Saturday's scare.Gordon injured his right shoulder in a Royals game Friday night while diving for a ball against the Angels. "It was a bad night," Gordon said on Sunday. "It bothered me a little bit and then all of a sudden it stiffened up on me. I was worried about it a little bit. I've never really had arm problems. It hurt that night and the next day. Today it feels a lot better. I think I just needed to stretch it out, ice it and stuff like that, and take some anti-inflammatories." Gordon took batting practice and some ground balls Sunday morning, but he did not throw. "In case it did bother me today, we'd know right away where it was that it bothered me," Gordon said. "I'm hoping I can play tomorrow. It didn't bother me [hitting]. It really felt good. It's a ton better. It's amazing what a little bit of treatment and a little bit of stretching can do for you. I probably felt like I could play today, but they wanted me to take it easy." Gordon, who said he was about 80-85 percent on Sunday, did not have an MRI. "They said they were going to treat it for a couple of days and if it was bothering me still, then they would do an MRI, but I don't think there is any need for it now," he said. Bannister hit: Brian Bannister was struck near his left knee by a Nate Gold line drive in the second inning of a "B" game Sunday against the Rangers. "It got me on the inside of the knee cap," Bannister said. "It got me good. It was hit well.
"Your leg goes numb right away. If it's square on the knee cap, it might have been a different story. I got lucky."Bannister said he should not miss a start.
"I'll be fine in a day or two," he said.Bannister gave up two runs on three hits, a walk and a wild pitch, while striking out two in two innings "It was just a frustrating outing, especially getting hit," he said. "I wanted to go out there and throw four good innings and get my work in." The wind was blowing in during the "B" game, which caused Bannister to temporary shelve his two-seam sinking fastball. "With the wind behind me, it favors more of a fly-ball pitching style, the four-seamer up in the zone. Even if they hit a good fly ball, they can't hit it out of the park," he said. "I've been working on it and have been successful in my first two outings throwing the two-seamer, the cutter and the curveball. The first inning, I pitched the way I have been and obviously didn't have success, so I changed it in the second inning and it was fine, but that doesn't help me at all for the season. "The second inning was fine. The first inning, the two-seamer wasn't sinking and basically everything was straight. I was talking to hitters and the other guy's fastball was cutting because of the wind, so I just started throwing four-seamers. "It doesn't do you any good for the season just to pitch that way, so it's kind of that battle, 'Do I do what it takes to prepare me for the season, or just pitch for that day and change my style?' I'm not going to go out there and just keep getting hit. During the season, that is what you have to do if that is the wind conditions. It is not as prevalent in a Major League stadium as on a back field here."
Grudzielanek update: Mark Grudzielanek, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on March 5, rode the stationary bike for the first time and threw on Sunday."You've got to get rid of the swelling first, before you can start doing things," Grudzielanek said. "We had very little, if any, swelling. Obviously, that was a good thing. We were able to do a lot of flexibility and range-of-motion things. We've progressed to the next level. "Everything is going well. We just want to keep making progress. We don't want to be hovering. I want to keep getting better and better, and stronger and stronger. If I feel like I'm ready to do something, we're going to keep going. There really is no timetable. It is just when I'm ready to move up and do the next thing." The Royals are optimistic Grudzielanek will return in April. "Maybe in a few days I'll start hitting off a tee," Grudzielanek said. Other injuries: General manager Dayton Moore said left-hander John Bale strained his lat during Saturday's outing and will be out a few days. The latissimus dorsi is a wing-like muscle in the upper back and under each arm. ... Moore said right-hander Joe Nelson is "being proactive" in having shoulder surgery. "There is a chance that he can return toward the end of the season," Moore said. "These things are so unpredictable. You start messing with a pitcher's arm, you've got to see how they come back." ... Infielder Alex Sanchez missed his second straight game with hamstring tightness on Sunday. "If it wasn't Spring Training, he would play," Moore said. Briefly: Billy Butler hit a two-run homer in the ninth against the Rockies in Tucson on Sunday, but reliever Roberto Giron allowed a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth in the 5-4 loss. ... Ross Gload went 2-for-3 in the "B" game, while Mike Sweeney was 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout. ... Octavio Dotel worked a perfect inning against the Rangers. On deck: Gil Meche will be the Royals pitcher on Monday against the Angels in a 3:05 p.m. CT start at Surprise Stadium. Former Royal Hector Carrasco will be the Angels starter.
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.