Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon met with members of the media Thursday during the Royals' annual winter caravan stop in Omaha. The former Nebraska All-American from Lincoln Southeast hit .265 last season with 20 homers and 81 RBIs. Gordon, 29, played in his first All-Star Game and won his third consecutive Gold Glove.
Q: What did last season mean to you?
A: It was a good year, a fun year. The fact that we were able to finish with a winning record — obviously we fell short of our goal, to make the playoffs — I think we're taking baby steps to get where we want to be. I think (General Manager) Dayton Moore has done a good job of getting the right guys in our program and they've grown. With their experience, you've seen the success of the team as a result.
Q: What did adding James Shields last year do for the team?
A: He brought over not only his baseball skills, but his leadership. He's a veteran and he brought fire to our clubhouse while also having fun. … He came from Tampa Bay where they were winning, making the playoffs almost every year. He brought that to our team, and I think it carried over to everyone else.
Q: What do you want to do personally to improve upon your game?
A: I'm trying to improve every year, especially getting older with all these young guys knocking at the door. I've got to stay on my game. I want my game to be good in every aspect. I'm always trying to get better at something and I always have open ears to any kind of teaching.
Q: (Speaking of getting older), what are your plans for your 30th birthday (Feb. 10)?
A: Justin Timberlake is in concert in Omaha. I'm actually going down to spring training a little bit late this year because of that. Hopefully he can put on a good show.
Q: How much pride do you take in winning another Gold Glove?
A: It's nice to go out there and help your team out every day, where maybe you weren't doing that in the past.
Q: What do you see as the strength of the team this year?
A: Defense was the strength of our team last year. Playing in the park we do, you have to have good defense because it's not a home run hitter's park. Our pitchers had tremendous success, and not to take anything away from them because they did a great job, had the lowest ERA in the American League and carried our team, but one of the reasons they carried our team was because of our defense. Hopefully, with three Gold Glovers coming back from last year and other guys up for it, too, hopefully people can get better and better.