By Matt Snyder
The top two teams in the AL East are dealing with injuries to the pitching staff and likewise shuffling things a bit. Each might soon get a start from an unlikely source.
The Yankees signed Brian Gordon from the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate Tuesday afternoon (Bob Brookover via Twitter). If you're wondering how that happened, you likely aren't alone. Gordon had an opt-out clause in his contract that was set to expire Wednesday. It stipulated that any team that signed him would have to add him to its major-league roster. The Yankees swiped him up just under the gun and they intend to use him because it's being reported that the team has told Gordon to be "mentally prepared to start Thursday." (Jack Curry via Twitter).
Gordon's journey has been a long one. He was drafted out of high school as an outfielder in 1997. He played for three different franchises in four seasons of Triple-A from 2003-2006 before transitioning to being a pitcher. He actually got a cup of coffee for the Rangers in 2008, appearing in three major-league games, but he has never made a big-league start. Gordon's numbers in Triple-A this season are stellar: 5-0, 1.14 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 56 strikeouts and seven walks in 55 1/3 innings.
As for the Yankees' rivals, the Red Sox plan to add Andrew Miller to the starting rotation next week (Pete Abraham of Boston.com). Miller also has a clause in his minor-league contract, one that would allow him to declare for free agency if he's not promoted to the majors by Wednesday. The sixth overall pick in the 2006 draft has failed to find success in the majors during the past five seasons for the Tigers and Marlins, but he's still only 26 and is throwing well in Triple-A. The 6-foot-7 left-hander has a 2.54 ERA and 51 strikeouts through 60 1/3 innings, though control (34 walks) is still a concern.
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