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With 158 saves, vet Gordon may aid Az

Citizen Staff Writer



To say pitcher Tom Gordon has been around for a long time would be an understatement.

Twenty seasons is the exact number, with six major league teams. He signed with his seventh team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, in the offseason.

Gordon, 41, started his major league career with the Kansas City Royals in 1988. He was teammates with current Arizona manager Bob Melvin and bench coach Kirk Gibson in Kansas City in the 1990s.

“I had the chance to play with Bob in Kansas City and I have an idea what type of person and professional he is and what he expects,” Gordon said. “For the most part, I expect the same.”

Gordon was a member of the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies last season. His season was cut short July 5 with an ulnar-nerve decompression. He compiled a 5-4 record with a 5.16 ERA before the injury.

He continues to rehab. The 5-10, 200-pound right-hander is throwing on the side and is expected to join the other pitchers in camp in a few days.

“The important thing for me right now is to get back to 100 percent. After that I’ll be able to assess where I am and how quick I’ll be able to move forward,” said Gordon. “I need to concentrate on my health more than anything else. The way things have gone for me I’ve gotten stronger. . . .

“I just want to help this team win ballgames. That’s the most important thing for me.”

Arizona could use veteran bullpen help with the departure of Brandon Lyons and Juan Cruz.

“We have to get him healthy to see if he can pitch in games and make sure we have him for a full season,” Melvin said. “He gives you a lot of flexibility. He’s a guy that has closed and set up. He has started. He has done everything. . . .

“The one thing he does give us is added depth. He’s willing to pitch anywhere.”

In three seasons with the Phillies, Gordon recorded 40 saves. He posted 34 saves in 2006. He had six saves in 2007 and two last season. Gordon has 158 career saves.

“Right now, I’m just trying to get better and in shape each day. The trainer has laid out a great plan for me and I am trying to make sure it works,” Gordon said. “I don’t like taking it slow.”

Gordon has compiled a 138-125 record with a 3.94 ERA and 1,928 strikeouts with the Royals, Red Sox, Cubs, Astros, White Sox, Yankees and Phillies.

“I’ve had a chance to be with some important ball teams. I think this team is on the horizon. You have a lot of young talent. It’s a beginning for me but I am hoping for (a) championship.”


1988-95 Kansas City Royals

1996-99 Boston Red Sox

2001-02 Chicago Cubs

2002 Houston Astros

2003 Chicago White Sox

2004-05 New York Yankees

2006-08 Philadelphia Phillies


Spring training dates for the Diamondbacks and Rockies:

Wednesday: All players report.

Feb. 25: Opener, D’backs at Rockies, 1:05 p.m., Hi Corbett Field (special spring preview in Citizen)

Feb. 26: White Sox at Rockies, 1:05 p.m., Hi Corbett; D’backs at Indians, 1:05 p.m., Goodyear

Feb. 27: White Sox at D’backs, 1:05 p.m., Tucson Electric Park; Rockies at Angels, 1:05 p.m., Tempe

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