KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Good luck finding a team that got a bigger boost when rosters expanded than the Kansas City Royals, who along with the usual September call-ups welcomed Alex Gordon back from the disabled list and Jonny Gomes from the Atlanta Braves.
Gordon has been out since July 8, when the All-Star outfielder crumpled to the warning track while chasing a fly ball against Tampa Bay. He was diagnosed with a severe groin strain.
Gomes was acquired in a trade just before Monday's deadline.
"First of all, he's a winner," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Gomes, who's been a part of playoff teams four of the last five seasons. "He's a tremendous clubhouse presence. He's as good a bat as you're going to get off the bench against left-handers. And a veteran player who has been through these types of scenarios before. There's a lot of positives."
And what about Gordon, who had spent eight games rehabbing at Triple-A Omaha?
"Once he got over the mental hurdle of knowing that he can go out and play, he felt great," Yost said. "He's swinging the bat well. It's great to have him back."
Especially considering the other news that hit Tuesday: Outfielder Alex Rios and reliever Kelvin Herrera have chickenpox, and third baseman Mike Moustakas has a balky hamstring.
In other words, it helps to have more bodies on hand.
Along with Gordon and Gomes, the Royals recalled infielders Christian Colon and Cheslor Cuthbert along with catcher Francisco Pena from Triple-A Omaha, and outfielder Terrance Gore — a speedy postseason darling a year ago — from Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Right-hander Miguel Almonte and left-hander Scott Alexander also joined the club from Omaha.
Yost wasted no time in putting Gordon back in the lineup. He was hitting sixth in the opener of a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.
"The biggest part of my rehab process was going through the game situation, and I'm making moves and trusting my legs," Gordon said. "I didn't want to get hurt down there, so I didn't really test it to I think maybe 100 percent, but I was pretty darn close."
The results were certainly promising. Gordon hit .429 with a homer and five RBIs.
"The first game I was kind of tentative," he said. "I feel comfortable with where I'm at right now. I'm glad I spent a lot of time down there and got my work in."
Gomes was part of the Red Sox team that won the World Series in 2013, and faced the Royals in last year's AL wild-card game with Oakland. In fact, it was Gomes who collided with teammate Sam Fuld in the outfield that led to Eric Hosmer's triple in the 12th inning. Hosmer later scored to tie the game, shortly before Salvador Perez drove in the winning run.
"It's the old saying,'" Gomes said with a grin, "'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.'"