Gordon's past... The Brian Gordon story is pretty well known. The Arizona Diamondbacks drafted Gordon in the 7th round of the 1997 Draft as an outfielder. After bouncing around for a couple of seasons, Gordon wound up with the Houston Astros and started the conversion to pitching. Before long, he was in the Texas Rangers organization and caught the eye of none other than Nolan Ryan, who took a special interest in Gordon and gave him some key pointers. Ryan also gave Gordon a ticket to the fast train to the majors and Gordon pitched in three major league games with the Rangers in 2008, but has again been bouncing around in the minors since then.
This season, Gordon started the season on the disabled list with Double-A Reading, but found himself heading directly back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley when he was activated. The 32 year-old right-hander assumed his usual spot in the IronPigs bullpen and had thrown four shutout innings when he was called upon to make an emergency start on April 29 when Vance Worley was promoted to Philadelphia to take the rotation spot of the injured Joe Blanton. Gordon had previously started 13 games in the minors, but this would be his first since 2009.
Game time... Not only was Gordon thrust into a starting spot, he was facing the Pawtucket Red Sox, who were the fourth best hitting team in the International League coming into the game and one of the hotter teams in the league. After giving up a leadoff single to Nate Spears, Gordon got a double-play ground ball and got out of the inning with no damage. Gordon struggled again in the second, allowing a leadoff double and a two-out walk, but ultimately, he was able to keep Pawtucket off the board. Inning three started well, but Gordon gave up a two-out triple on a ball that should have been caught. Outfielders Delwyn Young and Cory Sullivan had a communication shortfall that allowed the ball to land between them as they almost collided.
On the night, Gordon threw 45 pitches - 29 for strikes - and was generally in the upper-80s with his fastball. He showed that he was able to easily slide back into his reliever mentality when runners got on base, stranding three runners - two of them in scoring position - throughout his outing. When all was said and done, Gordon had allowed three hits, one walk and struck out one in his three innings of work as a starter. Lehigh Valley came on to score two runs in the bottom of the third, allowing Gordon to leave with a lead, although he wouldn't qualify for a win.
Gordon's future... Brian Gordon is one of those guys that you would love see get a chance in the majors. He's had to battle throughout his career and pitched well in the three-game audition that the Rangers gave him a few seasons ago. To this day, he is in touch with Nolan Ryan and gains an occasional piece of wisdom from the Hall of Famer. At 32, it's tough to consider Gordon a prospect, but it's not nearly as tough to imagine him as a guy who might be able to help some club as part of their bullpen. Personality wise, Gordon is tough enough to handle a reliever's role and that's likely where he is best suited. Keep in mind that he doesn't have the mileage on his arm that most 32 year-old pitchers do, since he converted to pitching just four seasons ago. That could help him have a little longevity and perhaps give him time to get another shot at pitching in a major league bullpen.
Brian Gordon's career pitching stats