Notebook: Gordon Activated, But Is He Ready?

Notebook: Gordon Activated, But Is He Ready?

Tom Gordon spent over two months on the DL before being activated after Sunday night's game against St. Louis. While Gordon is back on the active roster, he's not going to step right back into the closer's role and there are questions about just how ready he really is.

Late-inning reliever Tom Gordon has rejoined the Phillies. How much relief he provides remains to be seen.

Gordon, who hasn't pitched since May 1 due to a rotator cuff strain in his right shoulder and a respiratory infection that landed him in the hospital for five days, was activated from the disabled list Sunday and will be available to pitch Monday night in Los Angeles. But Gordon admitted his fastball and curveball remain a work in progress.

"The last couple games, I've felt good at the start and midway through, I didn't feel as good," Gordon said. "Right now, it's just a matter of getting into a rhythm, and that comes with pitching."

Gordon said his fastball has topped out at 92 mph, and manager Charlie Manuel said it needs to be consistently around 93 to effectively offset his looping changeup. Manuel said he plans to ease Gordon back into the bullpen mix and likely will use Antonio Alfonseca in the closer role until Gordon demonstrates consistency with his pitches.

It's possible, if right-hander Brett Myers returns from his strained shoulder by his targeted date of July 24, Gordon may never reclaim the Phillies' closer role.

"No player ever wants to not be able to do his job," Gordon said. "But that's obviously up to Charlie and (general manager) Pat (Gillick). I'm just happy to be back and want to do whatever I can to help this team."

The move to clear room for Gordon was a no-brainer, especially after Sunday night's 10-2 trouncing by the Cardinals. RHP Brian Sanches was demoted to Triple-A Ottawa after allowing four home runs in two innings Sunday night.

For Sanches, the long ball had been a recurring problem.

In 12 2/3 innings with the Phillies, Sanches allowed nine hits, six of them homers. He also walked nine batters and had a 6.39 ERA.

Notes from the City of Brotherly Love:

  • Adam Eaton, who signed a three-year, $24.5 million contract in the off-season, continued to struggle Sunday night against the Cardinals. Eaton, whose location has been off throughout most of the season, allowed six runs on 10 hits in four innings and fell to 8-6. His ERA, meanwhile, grew to 5.98. "He kept the ball on the good part of the plate and got hurt," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's had command problems."
  • Michael Bourn belted his first major league home run in the ninth inning Sunday night. Bourn, known more for his blazing speed than his prodigious power, is widely considered the Phillies' future center fielder, although he's been used primarily as a pinch-runner and late-game defensive replacement. In 77 games, Bourn is batting .259 (22-for-85) with one homer, six RBIs and 13 stolen bases in as many chances.
  • Ryan Howard struck out in the ninth inning Sunday night to cap the Phillies' 10,000th loss. They are the first pro sports franchise to drop 10,000 games. The Phillies stuck to their policy of not acknowledging the milestone loss, but a sellout crowd stood and cheered in the ninth inning before Howard struck out. "It's over. It's done," Howard said. "Now we don't have to talk about it anymore."
  • The Numbers Game: 5 The number of leadoff home runs for Jimmy Rollins, a single-season franchise record. Rollins broke the previous mark of four, shared by Juan Samuel (1989), Lenny Dykstra (1993) and Rollins (2004, 2005, 2006).

    You can quote me on that: "He's a huge part of this team. If we make the playoffs, he'll be a significant part of this team making the playoffs." -- Phillies center fielder Aaron Rowand, on resurgent left fielder Pat Burrell.

    M*A*S*H Update:

  • OF Jayson Werth (left wrist tendinitis) went on the disabled list June 29. He was re-examined July 9 and it was determined that he's not ready to start a rehab assignment. The Phillies hope that he'll be able to return to the team late this month.
  • RHP Jon Lieber (ruptured tendon in right foot) went on the disabled list retroactive to June 21. He underwent season-ending surgery on July 6.
  • RHP Freddy Garcia (sore right shoulder) went on the disabled list June 10. After meeting with Dr. James Andrews on June 14, he decided to try to rehab the injury without surgery. Manager Charlie Manuel pegs Garcia's return at anywhere between mid-August and sometime in September, if at all.
  • RHP Brett Myers (strained right shoulder) went on the disabled list retroactive to May 24. He cut short a bullpen session June 26 when he tweaked his shoulder. In a bullpen session on July 8, he uncorked fastballs and breaking pitches and didn't experience any setbacks and has continued to throw bullpen sessions since then without any problems. Next up: Myers will throw live batting practice or appear in a game for Class A Clearwater as early as this week.
  • RHP Scott Mathieson (Tommy John elbow surgery in September 2006) opened the season on the 15-day disabled list. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 29. He's working out in Clearwater, but isn't likely to start a rehab assignment until sometime next month.
  • RHP Francisco Rosario (right shoulder inflammation) went on the disabled list retroactive to June 16.
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