Yankees-Angels Preview

The New York Yankees are atop the AL East, but they’re also

keenly aware that an aging former Cy Young Award winner helped get

them there.

Following his first complete game in almost five years, Bartolo

Colon will try to lead the Yankees to a successful conclusion of

their West Coast swing Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Colon (3-3, 3.26 ERA) threw a four-hitter and fanned six in the

Yankees’ 5-0 win at Oakland last Monday. It was his first complete

game since limiting Seattle to four hits on July 5, 2006, while

with the Angels.

That also was his only win in a season cut short by a torn

rotator cuff. Colon, who missed all of 2010 to recover from an

elbow injury, was still throwing 95 mph on the last pitch against

the A’s.

”I feel really strong physically and mentally right now,” he

said through an interpreter. ”I feel really good right now. It

doesn’t matter that I’m 38 years old.”

While Colon’s signing over the winter may have been scoffed at

by some, the Yankees (32-24) are thankful to have him and lead the

Red Sox by one game in the East.

“He’s really exceeding our expectations,” first baseman Mark

Teixeira said. “He’s been huge for us. If we didn’t have him in our

rotation, we’d be scrambling right now.”

Colon, who won the 2005 AL Cy Young after going 21-8 for Los

Angeles, follows a spectacular outing by CC Sabathia. He came

within one out of his second complete game in three starts in

Saturday’s 3-2 victory.

”He’s been a life-saver here for the last three years and an

immovable rock,” Alex Rodriguez said of Sabathia. ”He’s a guy who

starts winning streaks for us and stops losing streaks.”

Robinson Cano hit a solo homer and Rodriguez added a two-run

shot for New York, which has won four of five after opening the

trip with consecutive losses to the Mariners.

With 1,864 career RBIs, Rodriguez needs one more to move past

Mel Ott into sole possession of ninth place all-time. A-Rod,

though, is 5 for 37 with 11 career strikeouts against Joel Pineiro

(2-2, 3.52), who gets the start Sunday.

Derek Jeter is 15 hits shy of 3,000 for his career, and the

Yankees captain should move closer to the milestone considering

he’s 12 for 28 against Pineiro, who tries again to get career win

No. 100. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 5.26 ERA in four starts

since beating the Chicago White Sox on April 10.

Facing Kansas City last Tuesday, Pineiro was reached for six

runs and nine hits in six innings as the Angels fell 7-3. His

errant throw on a comebacker gave way to a five-run third inning –

and kept the 12-year veteran stuck on 99 wins.

“That (throwing error) influenced the game as much as

anything,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s a good fielder and

he’s really good on that throw. He just misfired.”

Pineiro was 1-2 with a 6.16 ERA in three starts against the

Yankees last year. He surrendered six runs and 11 hits in six

innings of Los Angeles’ 7-1 loss at Angel Stadium on April 24,

2010.

Former Yankee Bobby Abreu had three hits Saturday for Los

Angeles (30-30), which has scored eight runs while losing three of

four.