ALLENTOWN - Next stop in Brian Gordon's dream season is Yankee Stadium.
Gordon celebrated his release from the Phillies organization Tuesday night after learning he would be pitching for the New York Yankees.
Just before the triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs were about to leave the home clubhouse at Coca-Cola Park for their game against Louisville, Gordon received a phone call from Phillies assistant general manager Chuck LaMar.
"He told me he just got off the phone with my agent and the Yankees wanted to put me in the big leagues right now . . . and the Phillies, for that to happen, had to give me my release," Gordon said. "It was a crazy phone call. I don't think I've ever been happier to be released. This release had a happy ending to it."
The most storied franchise in baseball has an immediate need for Gordon because the Yankees placed Bartolo Colon on the disabled list last week with a hamstring injury. Gordon said he is scheduled to pitch in Colon's slot Thursday against the Texas Rangers, the team with which he made his only three major-league appearances as a reliever in 2008.
Gordon, 32, was understandably emotional as he left Coca-Cola Park with his wife Amanda and three children. He started his career in 1997 as an outfielder with the Arizona Diamondbacks and hit 118 minor-league home runs over 10 seasons before asking Jackie Moore, his manager with Houston's triple-A Round Rock team, if he could switch to being a pitcher in 2007. Moore and the Astros approved the switch, and he prepared for it by working with Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, who owned the Round Rock team.
Moore is now the Rangers bench coach and Ryan is their owner, so they will both see Gordon's first career start Thursday.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Gordon said. "I don't think I have the words. My brain is all clouded and there are so many different emotions going on. I know excitement is going on. I'm very happy and I'm anxious to get there."
As part of the minor-league contract Gordon signed with the Phillies, the 29 other major-league teams had a six-day window to sign the veteran righthander provided they promoted him to their big-league roster. The deadline was Wednesday.
Gordon, after starting this season in extended spring training because of arm soreness, opened eyes around baseball after getting a chance to be part of the IronPigs rotation because of Vance Worley's promotion to the Phillies in late April.
Gordon, who had made only 13 career starts in his first four seasons as a pitcher, made the most of his opportunity. In nine starts with Lehigh Valley, he was 5-0 with a 1.23 ERA. He struck out 53 and walked five in 51 1/3 innings. His overall ERA of 1.14 was the best in the International League.
After thanking the Phillies for the opportunity they gave him, Gordon said he has never been to the old or new Yankee Stadium.
"Never been there, so there are going to be a whole lot of emotions going on," he said. "I'm just going to do my best and try to take what the good Lord gives me. I'll attack and throw the ball and we'll see how it ends up."