Despite limitations, blazing outfielder provides unmatched threat on bases
By Jeffrey Flanagan
MINNEAPOLIS -- Call it The Need for Speed.
Other than the surprising development of Raul Mondesi grabbing the starting job at second base, the other eyebrow raiser on the Royals' opening roster was the appearance of speedy, one-dimensional Terrance Gore for the second straight season.
Of course, some of the decision to put Gore on the Opening Day roster was based on the injury to Jorge Soler, who is on the 10-day disabled list.
But Royals manager Ned Yost hinted late in Spring Training that even if Soler had not have been hurt, he had been hoping for a way to keep Gore.
Gore's one dimension -- blazing speed on the bases -- means that much to a manager.
"He can win games with that speed," Yost said. "It's a huge weapon to have late in a game. I'm not saying we can keep that weapon all season, especially when we go to 13 pitchers. But for now, it made sense."
Kansas City fans are fully aware of Gore's impact on a game. While he doesn't have a Major League hit yet in seven at-bats over three seasons, he has stolen 19 of 21 bases in the bigs.
In the postseason, Gore is four of five -- the one caught stealing actually was on a popup slide into third base in the divisional playoffs against Houston in 2015. Gore had stolen the base, but he came off the bag on the slide and was called out after review.
Gore absolutely knows his value. And he constantly is thinking of more creative ways to steal a bag.
Explaining how he actually got caught stealing in a Spring Training game two weeks ago, Gore smiled and said, "I was just trying stuff. I really like to try everything in spring. I break slow sometimes and try it. I think that day I was trying a delayed steal."
Gore also has taken pride in becoming more than a one-dimensional threat. Yost and the Royals' coaching staff noticed Gore's improvement defensively this spring, and Yost said he wouldn't hesitate to use Gore as a defensive replacement either, if necessary.
"I made a catch in center field late in Spring Training and afterward I said to Alex, 'Hey, what did you think of my catch?'" Gore said. "Alex said, 'What catch?' I said, 'The one I made in center.' He said, 'I don't play center.' But I said, 'But I learned to make that catch from your routes. I took the same exact route as you would.' And he smiled.
"The experience of hanging out with those guys means a lot to a young player."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.