KANSAS CITY — Alex Gordon told Royals manager Ned Yost on Thursday that he was feeling better after suffering a possible concussion the previous night against Cleveland, though it's still not clear how long the Gold Glove outfielder will be out.
Gordon was tracking a fly ball off the bat of Jason Kipnis in the sixth inning when he got turned around near the fencing of the Royals bullpen. He banged into the fence and then landed hard on the warning track dirt, where he remained motionless for several minutes.
Gordon eventually walked off the field with what the team called a possible concussion and a bruised right hip. He said afterward that he didn't remember whether he lost consciousness.
"It was carrying on me, and I kind of got lost, and I looked back at the fence and then just kind of got off balance, and that's when I just fell and hit the wall," Gordon said while standing in front of his locker. "I just remember laying there."
Major League Baseball and its players' union adopted a series of protocols on how to deal with concussions about two years ago, including the creation of a seven-day disabled list.
Under terms of the policy, players who are suspected of having a concussion are tested immediately and again in subsequent days. If experts determine there's a concussion, the player goes on the seven-day DL for no more than 14 days, at which point he heads to the 15-day DL.
No player can return unless he's cleared by the league's medical director, who will consult with the team's head physician to go over a myriad of baseline tests.
There were 11 players placed on the seven-day concussion list in 2011, the first season it was put in play. There were 13 players placed on the list last season.
"You know, concussions, we have to find out where he is on that, and, of course, they have pretty extensive concussion tests to find out the grade of it," Yost said, "but he seems to be doing OK on that side of it. We'll see."
Gordon so far has passed all his tests, and Yost was optimistic that he may only be out a few days rather than landing on the seven-day DL. But he also acknowledged that "I've seen concussions end careers, and we want to make sure he's fully recovered from that."
David Lough got the start in left field on Thursday against the Indians.
Yost also said Gordon's bruised right hip also could prove troublesome, and Gordon seemed to indicate the same thing when he spoke briefly after Wednesday night's game.
"I've just got a bruise, and my butt hurts a little bit," he said, "and that's about it."
The Royals will be thankful if that's the case.
The crowd was hushed when Gordon was laying on the warning track, and even Kipnis — who had rounded the bases for an inside-the-park home run — watched intently from the Indians dugout.
Royals reliever Bruce Chen was among the first to reach Gordon, and several other players came out of the bullpen while trainer Nick Kenney ran out from the dugout. They were all joined by Yost, who spent several minutes talking to Gordon before helping him off the field.
"Nobody was jumping around. Everybody was looking out there to see how he was doing," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That's not a good feeling seeing someone laying there."
Gordon said he watched the rest of the game on TV in the clubhouse, where he was treated to some high drama. Eric Hosmer hit a home run in the seventh inning to give Kansas City the lead, and Greg Holland pitched around a runner in the ninth to save a much-needed 6-5 victory.
"It was a great comeback," Gordon said. "It was great."