Activated from the disabled list were infielder Juan Uribe (strained abdominal muscle) and outfielder Marcus Thames (strained quad) -- both in Monday night's starting lineup against the Phillies -- and reliever Blake Hawksworth (hip and groin).
"We're not bringing [Gordon] here to save the Dodgers," general manager Ned Colletti said. "He's here to get his feet wet and see how it goes. I told him we're not expecting him to change the world. Play solid baseball and measure where you're at ... and we'll all get a better feel."
To make room for the four players, the Dodgers designated for assignment outfielder Jay Gibbons and infielder Juan Castro, and they optioned back to Triple-A Albuquerque infielder Ivan De Jesus and pitcher John Ely.
The left-handed-hitting Gordon, a fourth-round Draft pick in 2008 who's the son of longtime Major League reliever Tom Gordon, entered Monday's game as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning and scored a run. Gordon was hitting .315 with no homers, 18 RBIs and 22 steals for Albuquerque. He had been caught stealing only three times and scored 34 runs in 50 games, but he also had accrued twice as many strikeouts to walks (30-to-14) and committed a relatively high 11 errors. Entering this season, Gordon was ranked by MLB.com as the 44th-best prospect in baseball.
"My dad was ecstatic, like any other dad would be," said Gordon, whose father played in Philadelphia from 2006-08, when the Phillies won the World Series. "I spent a lot [of time in big league clubhouses]. I know [Citizens Bank Park] like the back of my hand -- this place more than any other because I was older when my dad was signed to play with them. It was surreal to find out that my first game would be in Philly.
"I was waiting for them to give me the call, and when they did, I was ready. I got off to a slow start [in the Minor Leagues] because I was just trying to do too much. I have to play my game, and that's something I learned."
"April, it was a tough adjustment [for Gordon]," Colletti said. "The month of May, he showed better quality. Offensively, he can produce. Not power, but he knows how to use his strengths, slap the ball around and drive it once in a while. He's so fast that sometimes subconsciously, he tries to match the speed of the game and gets overanxious. On really tough plays, he'll dazzle you, and on the simplest plays, he'll struggle. He cut his errors down from April to May."
The Dodgers plan to use Gordon liberally while their roster remains in flux. Manager Don Mattingly did keep the rookie out of the lineup on Monday and instead used Thames and Uribe in a righty-heavy lineup against Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee, but that had more to do with the timing of the callup than anything else.
"[Andre] Ethier is just [getting] a day [off]," Mattingly said. "I wanted to go all right-handed here one day, and with Marcus and Juan back today, I figured after the heat in Cincinnati and the long games, this was just the day to do it.
"We're going to play [Gordon]. I don't think we can bring him and sit him, but obviously, with just getting in today and [Lee], and then possibly [Cole Hamels on Wednesday], I told Ned, 'Do you want him to go against two of possibly the best five lefties in baseball the first two days out of the gate?' But yeah, we're going to play him."
Potentially cutting ties with the reliable Castro was the cost of promoting Gordon, and it thins out the Dodgers' veteran infield depth, with Rafael Furcal having just been placed back on the disabled list with an oblique strain.
"We'll see if I clear waivers, but I don't want to play at Triple-A," Castro said. "Retire? I don't know. I really hadn't thought about it."
De Jesus, primarily a second baseman, was called up for two days, while Ely was also up for only the weekend, but he pitched three solid innings in Sunday's win over Cincinnati.
Meanwhile, jettisoning Gibbons was the cost of keeping rookie outfielder Jerry Sands, who was also in the starting lineup on Monday night and appears set to stay for awhile.
"We need the versatility of somebody who can play defense and not make Donnie switch out of the game," Colletti said. "We decided to stay with Jerry and give him as much playing time as possible."
Gibbons was hitting .255 with one homer and five RBIs in a platoon role. He spent the first month of the season disabled with vision problems.
The arrival of Gordon did overshadow the return of Thames, Uribe and Hawksworth to a certain degree, but all three proclaimed themselves healthy and ready to contribute sooner rather than later, and that's certainly true for both Thames and Uribe.
"I'm glad to be back and get out there," said Thames, who started in left and hit third in the lineup on Monday, with Either resting. "My leg is 100 percent. I just needed to get my timing down at the plate. I had month off, and I didn't have 30 at-bats before I left, so that's what I needed to work on the most."
"We're here, and its time to go," Hawksworth said. "I still feel a grab here and there, but that's what [the trainers] told me it would be. Just getting the information and knowing the degree, I'm more confident since I had that second MRI.
"This is a big road trip for us, and I don't have to tell you guys that. I hope I don't mess up the chi."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Mike Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.