Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's Throw It At The Wall...

...And See If It Sticks Day in the Bronx. The Yankees had "Deja vu all over again" last night, pounding Texas for the second straight night, 12-4, but today should be "interesting". Getting the start is career minor leaguer Brian Gordon.

Gordon is a converted outfielder that has spent 15 seasons in the minor leagues. He has three games of big league experience, ironically, as a member of the Texas Rangers in 2008 (4 IP 0-0, 2.25). Gordon was originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the seventh round of the 1997 draft, or one year before Arizona actually started playing as a Major League franchise. He showed promise when he drove in 46 years in 54 rookie league games after finishing up at Round Rock High School in Texas, but moved slowly up the Arizona chain, spending two years each in 'A' and advanced 'A' ball.

After his first season at Triple-A Tucson, Gordon opted for minor league free agency and signed with the then Anaheim Angels. After two years at Triple-A Salt Lake, the 26-yr old Gordon left via free agency again, and signed with the Houston Astros. After another season at the top minor league level, Gordon decided it was time to give pitching a go, something he hadn't done since high school.

Gordon was most recently pitching for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs of the International League when he used his opt out clause for a chance to pitch in the Bronx. As in the big leagues. As in starting a Major League game against Texas' C.J. Wilson. No one knows how he'll fare, but GM Brian Cashman figures he has nothing to lose and hopes the low risk gamble works out as well as Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon did for a time.

Hector Noesi will be ready to go whenever Gordon is done.

Back to last night, the Yankees infield went homertastic, with each starter hitting one out of the ball park. Mark Teixeira led the parade with a pair of blasts, Robinson Cano smashed a deep three-run shot, Eduard Nunez celebrated this 24th birthday with a home run, and the third baseman? No it wasn't Alex Rodriguez, who DH'ed. Light hitting Ramiro Pena even got into the act with a home run. August 22, 1939 was the last time the Yankees pulled off the trick - Babe Dahlgren, Joe Gordon, Frankie Crosetti and Red Rolfe hit the home runs.

Teixeira's home runs came from each side of the plate, the 11th such time he had accomplished the feat. In doing so, Teixeira tied the Major League record jointly held by Eddie Murray and Chili Davis.

With left-hander Derek Holland getting the start for Texas Wednesday night, Joe Girardi moved Nick Swisher into the lead off spot. It was the first time Swisher batted in the top spot since he was a member of the White Sox in 2008. Swisher responded with a 1-3 night with two walks and a run scored. He'll be in the top spot again today with Wilson going for Texas.

Per Newsday's Ken Davidoff, to make room for Gordon on the 25-man, Lance Pendleton was optioned to the minors and Amauri Sanit was released to free up a spot on the 40-man roster.

Gordon isn't the first Yankee this season to opt out of a minor league deal to sign with the Yankees. Reliever Cory Wade excelled for the Dodgers in 2008, but after a shaky 2009 season had not been back in the Major Leagues until last night. After pitching well in the Tampa Bay Rays organization (Triple-A Durham), Wade opted out and signed with the Yankees. He appeared in one game for Scranton before being recalled prior to last night's game. Kevin Whelan was sent down to Scranton to make room on the 25-man roster. Wade pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning and picked up his first Major League strikeout in two years.

Ivan Nova won his sixth game last night, but it was mostly due to run support. The rookie usually pitches well in the early innings, but struggled from the get-go and allowed four runs in 5.2 innings.

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