- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- Five years ago, Brian Gordon was smashing home runs in Round Rock, Texas.
Five weeks ago, he was striking out hitters in Lehigh Valley, Pa.
On Thursday, Gordon will take the mound in the Bronx as the starting pitcher for the New York Yankees.
Gordon went 5-0 with a 1.14 ERA for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs before exercising an opt-out clause in his contract, which was owned by the Philadelphia Phillies, the parent club of Lehigh Valley.
Joe Girardi confirmed after the Yankees' 12-4 win on Wednesday that Gordon will make the start on Thursday, the last game of the three-game set against the Rangers.
To make room for Gordon on the 25-man roster, right-hander Lance Pendleton was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. To make room for Gordon on the 40-man roster, right-hander Amauri Sanit has been released.
Girardi had to decide between Gordon and reliever Hector Noesi. Noesi warmed up in the bullpen during Wednesday's game, so that took him out of the running to make the start.
Girardi said on Wednesday night that Gordon, who will be pitching on regular rest Thursday, throws three off-speed pitches -- curveball, slider and changeup.
"He's a veteran guy," Girardi said. "(Gordon is) more built up than Hector."
Gordon will be making his fourth major league appearance Thursday and his first Sept. 27, 2008, with Texas.
Gordon was an outfielder for his first 10 years in professional baseball. He hit 119 career home runs before moving to the mound. Gordon, who was born in West Point, N.Y., has played for 13 different teams in 15 seasons in minor league baseball.
He was drafted in 1997 by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
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