Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
WASHINGTON -- The right shoulder troubles that sidelined reliever Tom Gordon was one thing, but the problems from a bout with pneumonia that nearly ended his season was another. "Having pneumonia was the biggest thing," Gordon said. "The important thing was my health. I went through something I had never gone through in my life. I knew what I'd feel like once I got healthy with my shoulder, but I had no idea what I'd feel like once I went through pneumonia." Gordon still remembers when he experienced chest pains and a headache while watching his son's baseball game on May 10. He flew from Florida to Philadelphia and then spent five days in a hospital, losing 10 pounds.
"I never felt anything like that to the point where I felt so miserable," Gordon said at the time. "I had headaches for two days. I didn't know what to expect and what to do. Thank God I was able to get here and get to a hospital to where I could get seen. It actually gave me a little more time to allow my shoulder to get a little stronger, too, but that's not the way you want to do that." Instructed not to rush back, Gordon said that he didn't sleep well for at least a month after leaving the hospital and he barely ate. Though it's hard to say definitely, perhaps the extra time off this season has helped Gordon pitch in a career-high five straight games. "That's a blessing to be able to pitch in every way I can and help the team in any way possible," Gordon said. So how fresh does Gordon feel? "I don't even know the meaning of that right now," Gordon said, with a laugh. "I went through so much. I thank God for helping me get through what I went through. It was tough on me, but I didn't give up." Good-bye to RFK: For the second time in its 46-year-old history, RFK Stadium will cease to host a baseball team. Many former members of the Washington Senators, including pitcher Dick Bosman and slugger Frank Howard, were welcomed by fans before Sunday's final game. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said that he won't miss the ballpark in the nation's capital. "I'm going to miss the locker room," Manuel said, with a laugh, in reference to the tiny visiting clubhouse. The stadium has been the home of the Nationals for three seasons, after the Montreal Expos relocated. The Nationals will play in a new facility beginning in April 2008. But RFK Stadium will still host D.C. United soccer games. Manuel has another memory of RFK, where he lined out as a pinch-hitter. "I played here in '69," Manuel said. "One night, Billy Martin sent me up to hit against [Dennis Higgins], and I hit a line drive that [Hank Allen] caught over the fence with two outs. ... I smoked it and he jumped over the fence. I'm still cussing him." Lohse relieves: Kyle Lohse thought this might happen. When Lohse skipped Saturday's bullpen session, the starter was told by pitching coach Rich Dubee that he might be used in relief on Sunday, considering the state of the bullpen. Lohse worked an 11-pitch scoreless seventh inning against the Nationals in the series finale. "I've done it before, so it was nothing new," Lohse said. "Instead of throwing a bullpen on the side, I was throwing it in a game. I'll be good to go on Wednesday. It was good to get back out there after that last outing. It was a game situation to get three outs." Lohse allowed six runs in two innings on Thursday, making him available if needed. He'll still start on Wednesday against the Braves. Coming up: After an off-day on Monday, Jamie Moyer (13-11, 5.01 ERA) will open a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park against Chuck James (11-10, 4.11) and the Braves on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET.