The Yankees manager had said before the game that the plan was to add Gordon to the club's roster Thursday, when he or long-relief man Hector Noesi would take the hill.
"[Gordon's] had an outstanding season in Triple-A for the Phillies," Girardi said after his team's win Wednesday. "It is his day to start, he's actually on his regular turn. Seen a little film on him, not a ton, but a little bit. Seems to throw a lot of strikes, has good command, has a curveball, slider, changeup, and he's a veteran guy. I think he's almost 33 years old, and so we had Noesi up tonight, and he's more built up than Hector because of the way we had to use Hector."
Noesi warmed up in the fifth Wednesday but ended up not pitching.
Gordon went 5-0 this season with an International League-best 1.14 ERA for Triple-A Lehigh Valley of the Phillies' organization.
The 32-year-old Gordon's only stint in the Majors came with the Rangers in 2008, when, in three relief appearances, he gave up one run on four hits in four innings.
"He went out and gave you everything he had," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Nothing overpowering, throws strikes and changes speeds. He's a competitor. Undoubtedly, some of the Yankees scouts saw him and liked what they saw. They think he can keep them in the game."
"If you're not persistent, you're not going to stay in this game," Washington added. "There is so much failure, so much knock down and so many people telling you that you can't do it. But there's always opportunity. It may be a long opportunity or a short opportunity, but you have to take advantage of it."
The Yankees have needed a starter for Thursday ever since Bartolo Colon strained his left hamstring Saturday, placing the right-hander on the 15-day DL.
Before Wednesday's game, the Yankees announced the signing of Cory Wade to a Major League contract Wednesday, two days after signing the right-hander to a Minor League deal.
Wade ended up pitching in the eighth inning Wednesday, a 1-2-3 frame that ended with Yorvit Torrealba striking out swinging.
Reliever Kevin Whelan was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room for Wade on the Major League roster, and Rafael Soriano was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Wade was the winning pitcher Monday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in its 8-3 victory over Syracuse, pitching 1 2/3 shutout innings and giving up just two hits in a relief appearance.
Before being released by the Tampa Bay organization, Wade had gone 2-1 with a 1.23 ERA in 21 games for Triple-A Durham.