It was a matter of "when" and not "if" Chattanooga Lookouts second-year infielder Nick Gordon would be promoted this season.
When came Tuesday.
The Minnesota Twins bumped the 22-year-old Gordon up to Triple-A Rochester (N.Y.), fulfilling a guarantee that Twins first-year player development director Jeremy Zoll made before the season. Knowing such a call could come at any moment, Gordon displayed a consistency that yielded a .333 average in 42 games with five home runs and 20 RBIs.
His fifth homer occurred during Monday night's loss in Biloxi.
"I just play," Gordon said last Wednesday as the Lookouts wrapped up a 10-game homestand. "As long as I've got a uniform on, that's all I worry about. It's about whatever field I'm on that day. It's not about the future, and it's not about the past. It's about today."
Gordon played in 122 games for last year's Lookouts, who set a franchise record with 91 regular-season victories, and he batted .270 with nine homers and 66 RBIs. His average this season ranked fourth in the league, and his 85 total bases ranked first.
"He's a baseball player, and he's fun to watch, especially when he gets in that box," Chattanooga first-year manager Tommy Watkins said. "He has no fear. He's grown up around baseball, and he knows how to play. His bat definitely works."
Gordon, the fifth overall pick of the 2014 draft, has played both shortstop and second base this season.
The Lookouts were off Tuesday and must move on without Gordon tonight at 7:15, when Montgomery visits for the first of a five-game series. His departure is being countered by the arrival of Minnesota pitcher Ervin Santana, who is scheduled to appear in a rehab assignment.
Santana went 16-8 last season with a 3.28 earned run average and five complete games, but he underwent finger surgery in February and was placed on the 60-day disabled list. The 35-year-old has a career record of 149-124, which includes a 14-10 mark with the 2014 Atlanta Braves, but he was suspended 80 games with Minnesota at the start of the 2015 season after a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance.
The promotion of Gordon brings him one level closer to older brother Dee Gordon, who played for the 2010 Lookouts and since has been with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners. He is in his first season with Seattle and entered Tuesday night hitting .304.
"We definitely work hard in the offseason, and we definitely like to see each other doing well," Nick Gordon said. "This has definitely been a lot of fun for both of us. We get to play the game we love."
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.