Gordon went 0-for-2 in Kansas City's 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, but hit .343 with six homers and 23 RBIs during spring training. The outfielder changed his swing over the winter under the guidance of hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and the Royals were so pleased with the results that manager Ned Yost moved Gordon to the third slot in the batting order.
"He had a great spring," Yost said. "If he struggled, we wouldn't even consider it."
Gordon has not hit third since 2008, when he batted .221 with 10 homers and 36 RBIs batting in that slot. Gordon, the second player selected in the 2005 draft, is a career .244 hitter in 408 games.
"I'm trying to split the lefties between Kila and Gordon and put some speed in the order above Billy, trying to keep him out of some double play situations," Yost said.
The Royals break camp with six straight victories and a 20-10-1 record.
"Your whole goal is to play .500 and play consistent and we've gone way above that," Yost said. "We've had a great spring. You look back over the spring and we've really played one bad game. So consistency has been there in all phases of our game, and I'm very, very pleased with the way we're finishing up spring training."
The Royals hit .308 and led the majors with 220 runs.
"It really doesn't matter right now," Butler said. "You have to go out and do it when it counts, the first month."
Bruce Chen picked up the victory in the finale, holding the White Sox to Adam Dunn's homer in the first and four hits in five innings. The veteran left-hander, who won 12 games for Kansas City last season, walked four and struck out four.
Chen finished the spring with a 3-1 record and a 3.96 ERA in six games.
The White Sox also scored in the sixth when rookie reliever Jeremy Jeffress walked three, including one with the bases loaded, and had a wild pitch. Jeffress was acquired from Milwaukee in the Zack Greinke deal.
Brandon Hynick pitched five innings for Chicago, allowing three runs and seven hits.
Yost announced Matt Treanor, who was acquired Monday from the Texas Rangers, would be his Opening Day catcher Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels. He said Treanor would start when right-handers Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies and Vin Mazzaro were scheduled to pitch, while Pena would catch left-handers Chen and Jeff Francis. ... The Royals made several cuts after the game. They optioned Mazzaro to Triple-A Omaha, but will recall him on April 16 when they will need a fifth starter for the first time. They reassigned RHPs Zach Miner, Louis Coleman and Luis Mendoza and INFs Lance Zawadzki and Irving Falu to minor league camp.