PHILADELPHIA -- Tom Gordon hasn't thrown a pitch for the Phillies since July 5, but that didn't prevent him from smiling after Thursday's victory over the Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. Relaxing in a chair in front of his corner locker at Citizens Bank Park, Gordon enjoyed the team's first win in the NLCS since 1993. The injured reliever rejoined his teammates and plans to fly to Los Angeles, where he will have elbow surgery Thursday.
Gordon also sported facial hair for the occasion, a departure from his clean-shaven appearance. "There's a lot of wins in here," Gordon said. With Gordon unable to pitch for the final two months, the bullpen has picked up the eighth-inning slack. The veteran has especially enjoyed watching Ryan Madson assume his setup job. Gordon threw without pain in his arm a few times in September. The problem is enduring the rigors of a long season. In mid-August, Phils head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan said Gordon had an injury to his right ulnar collateral ligament and the flexor pronator muscle, which rests on the inside of his elbow. There was also irritation to his ulnar nerve. Gordon hopes surgery will correct that -- he said it's not a procedure commonly known as Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, which carries a recovery time of at least a year -- and he'll be able to pitch at some point next season. "I tried [in September]," he said. "I gave everything I had. I got up to about two days in a row where I could throw, then it went downhill. I hope to get it cleaned up and hopefully be ready." The Phillies aren't likely to exercise a $4 million option for next season, making the 40-year-old a free agent. He'll have to accept an incentive-laden deal to return, and he wouldn't mind if that was from the Phillies. Gordon often jokes that he wants to one day face his son, Devaris Strange-Gordon, who batted .331 in 60 games for the Odgen Raptors, the Class A team of the Dodgers. "I told him I'm going to go and get this thing cleaned up, then I'll have something for him," Gordon said. "I intend to pitch. I have some unfinished business. This organization has been there for me and has done everything they can for me. I've gotten a lot of support for the fans. I want to do it for my teammates."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.