GARY, IN. 2-14-2011 – The Gary SouthShore RailCats and Manager Greg Tagert have another pair of left-handers on the 2011 pitching staff with the additions of Derrick Gordon and Carlos Rivas for the upcoming season.
Gordon, 27, spent the past five seasons in the Oakland A’s minor league system advancing as high as Triple-A in 2009. Originally selected in the 26th round of the 2006 major league entry draft, Gordon, until now, has spent his entire career with the A’s organization. In his five seasons of professional baseball, the Beaumont, Texas native has compiled a 16-18 record with a 4.27 ERA over 312 innings and 172 games while adding 304 strikeouts against just 158 walks. His best season as a pro was 2007 which saw Gordon earn a 3-3 record, a 2.10 ERA and 52 strikeouts as a member of the Kane County Cougars. Gordon was also be reunited with RailCats outfielder Mike Massaro as the two were teammates 2007 with the Cougars and again in 2008 with the Stockton Ports.
“The goal of every club is to stockpile premium pitching and the signing of Derrick is a terrific addition for us,” said Tagert. “It’s a great fit and there’s a comfort level for Derek, having played with Mike (Massaro) and his desire to be a starter, along with our needs in that area.”
Primarily a reliever during his professional career, Gordon joins the RailCats looking to transition back to being a starting pitcher, a role at which he excelled at Lamar University. In his collegiate career, Gordon started 59 games for the Cardinals earning a 15-14 record, a 3.77 career ERA and posted his best season in 2004. As a redshirt freshman in 2004, Gordon was named Southland Conference Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the Southland Conference All-Tournament Team and All-Southland Conference Second Team after posting an impressive 7-3 record with a 1.92 ERA in 11 starts which included two complete games and a shutout.
Rivas, 26, returns to professional baseball in the U.S. after spending last season with Cardenales de Lara of Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional (LVBP) or the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. Rivas originally signed with the Atlanta Braves as an undrafted free agent in 2001 at the age of 16 but did not play his first game in the States until 2004 with the Gulf Coast Braves, where Rivas earned a 3-2 record while contributing a 3.52 ERA over 13 games including eight starts. A veteran of 262 innings in affiliated ball, Rivas holds an 18-11 record over five seasons in the Braves system with a 4.09 ERA and 205 strikeouts.
“We’re hopeful Carlos can recapture some of his past success,” Tagert said of Rivas. “(Former RailCats catcher) Jose Yepez caught him in Venezuela this winter and felt like he was on the right track. He should be a nice compliment to our other left-handers, Engle and Jenkins.”
The RailCats now have 13 players under contract for the 2011 season with Gordon and Rivas joining fellow pitchers Zeb Engle, Aaron Jenkins, Will Krout and Nolan Nicholson, catchers John Parham and Mike Valadez, infielders Chris Carrara and Brian Kolb, and outfielders Adam Klein, Mike Massaro, and Cody McMorris. All 13 players will be part of an at least 28-man squad when the RailCats open Spring Training on April 30 at U. S. Steel Yard.
Opening Day 2011 is less than three months away and the RailCats open on the road on May 12 in Grand Prairie against the Air Hogs. The ‘Cats open U. S. Steel Yard on Friday, May 20 at 7:10 p.m. against the rival Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks. Season tickets and flex packs are on sale now by calling the RailCats at 219.882.2255 and for schedule or other information visit www.railcatsbaseball.com.