If the Yankees and Brian Gordon were an item, consider Thursday’s game the first date of what began as an online romance. The Yankees have only seen tapes of Gordon pitching, never in person, and now they will finally get to watch Gordon in action when he takes the mound against the Texas Rangers.
With relatively little knowledge on Gordon, the Yankees aren’t burdening their newest starter with details, but instead letting him rely on what led him to a 5-0 record with a 1.14 ERA in the International League (AAA).
“I’ll go through hitters and make sure the catcher and him are on the same page as far as what he likes to do,” Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “Just let him pitch, he’s had a lot of success this year. We’ll let him pitch the way he has and make him aware of what he needs to be aware of.
“Just keep it simple, really.”
From what they Yankees have seen on film, Gordon, who opted-out of a contract to sign with the Yankees Thursday before the game, has good command and can mix his pitches well. He throws strikes, has four pitches and keeps the ball down in the zone to get ground balls. If that sounds like a very simple scouting report, it is.
“A lot of it falls on our catcher because they’ve never seen him and you’re not sure,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I’ll tell Brian go with what you believe in because we don’t know you, you know yourself better than we know you.”
Rothschild reiterated that the Yankees want to keep Gordon comfortable, not changing things for him because he’s suddenly in the major leagues and pitching in New York. Girardi believes Gordon’s experience, as he’s been in the minor leagues for 13 years and has pitched in the majors, will help him as he’s handled adversity.
“I have nothing to lose and everything to gain here,” Girardi said of how Gordon should be approaching this start. “(He should say) I have a tremendous opportunity here to make some starts for the New York Yankees.”