Being a competitor, I was excited to get back to the team following my recent stay on the disabled list.

Having missed two and a half months due to right shoulder inflammation and an upper respiratory infection, my biggest challenge now will be the physical and mental preparation that I need every day. It's about taking the time to do what I need to do to get to the point of having success. Staying healthy and getting stronger are the most important things.

When you look at the schedule, the timing of my return couldn't have been better. I believe I have enough time to get stronger and that good things are going to happen. I have to take things in stride, get in my innings and keep building strength.

I felt really good in my first appearance last week. I was able to do my job and have fun doing it. I felt good about where I was at physically and I had a plan for myself.

I will throw a lot of fastballs at first. I'll throw some cutters and mix in a curveball as well. The next step is to really work on getting my breaking ball back and going. That's a difficult pitch to throw, especially when you are trying to find a feel for it.

Actually coming out of the bullpen, my breaking ball has probably been the best pitch I've had. Another key is getting a better feel for the fastball and to get the feeling of throwing it downhill. My pitches have actually been coming back to me faster than I expected.

Getting back to the Phillies, I saw progress from my recent rehab appearances. The first couple of games I was trying to get comfortable. I was inconsistent. Now the feel is returning and I feel good about my velocity, too.

Tom Gordon, a 19-year veteran with more than 2,000 innings and more than 800 appearances, was activated from the disabled list on July 15 after rehabbing his shoulder. The Sebring, Fla.-born Gordon is in his second season with the Phillies.