Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost joked that nobody had better steal Alex Gordon's crutches, only to watch his star outfielder walk slowly into a news conference without any Thursday.

The doctors may be saying that Gordon will be out for eight weeks with a severe groin strain, but he already seemed to defy them just one day after getting hurt.

"I'm going to do everything I can to get back out there quicker," he said.

Gordon was injured in the fourth inning of Wednesday night's game against Tampa Bay. He crumpled to the field near the warning track and lay there for several minutes, eventually needing a cart to leave the field. He later underwent an MRI that revealed the extent of the injury.

"The news is obviously tough. I mean, I want to be out there every day," he said. "I knew it wasn't good, especially with the season we're having. To be carted off and thinking that's going to be taken away for a while, it's frustrating."

Yost said that the MRI revealed a "two-plus groin strain," and that the one positive is that Gordon will not need surgery.

Not only is the four-time Gold Glove winner one of the best defensive players in baseball, but he was also the Royals' hottest hitter. He had seven hits, reached base eight times and drove in six runs during a doubleheader sweep of Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

"It's just devastating," said Jarrod Dyson, who started in Gordon's place Thursday. "I got a chance to talk to Gordo before I left the clubhouse. We just wish him the best. Our prayers go out to the guy. We stick together around here."

Yost said that Dyson and Paulo Orlando would handle the vacant spot in the outfield, though the Royals also still could make a move before the trade deadline.

Gardner an All-Star

Yost chose Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner to replace Gordon in the All-Star Game.

Gardner, 31, is hitting .303 with 10 home runs, 40 RBI and 61 runs scored. This will be his first All-Star Game.

"I'm really excited about it," Gardner said. "This is a big honor to be mentioned up there with obviously some of the best players in the game. It will be a moment that I'll definitely cherish forever."

Orioles center fielder Adam Jones will replace Gordon in the starting lineup for the AL.

Rose to appear

Pete Rose, who is on baseball's permanently ineligible list, will be on the field before the All-Star Game in Cincinnati on Tuesday as one of the four most influential players in Reds history, selected by fans' votes.

Although Major League Baseball will not reveal the so-called Franchise Four winners for each of the 30 teams until the pregame ceremony at Great American Ball Park, Rose said during a conference call on Thursday that he was among the four Reds selected, along with Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Barry Larkin.

Mets lose pitcher

Mets pitcher Steven Matz has a partially torn muscle in his back that will sideline the impressive rookie at least a month — probably longer.

Matz has won both his major league starts, compiling a 1.32 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 13 ⅔ innings.