Bartolo Colon, who has been on the 15-day DL since June 12, is set to return as the New York Yankees starter against their cross-town rivals the New York Mets on Saturday. On Thursday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi claimed Colon threw well enough in a bullpen session earlier that morning to be activated for Saturday's inter-league game.
Colon threw the ball and ran through some fielding drills before the Yankees Thursday afternoon game against the Milwaukee Brewers to Girardi's satisfaction. If everything continues to check out, the hefty righthander will start the second of the three game series at Citi Field.
"I felt good," Colon said through a Yankees source. "I'm ready to come back and help the team. My bullpen went well. I'm happy to be back with everyone. I'm looking forward to Saturday."
Barring a freak accident, Colon will be on the mound for Saturday's 4 p.m. game.
While Girardi was not so confident about Colon's return last night, Yankees GM Brian Cashman painted a brighter picture and said Colon would return if Thursday's bullpen session went according to plan.
"I think there's a good likelihood you'll see him back this weekend," said Cashman. "That's our mind-set."
To make room in the rotation, the 38 year-old Colon will replace Brian Gordon, who was 0-1 with a 5.13 ERA in two starts.
Colon, who was out of baseball since injuring his elbow and shoulder in 2009, was a surprising 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 78 innings before he went to the DL.
If Colon's return is a success, the Yankees will have the luxury of five good arms in the starting rotation and one sitting on the back burner.
The anticipated return of Phil Hughes next week might lure the Yankees into the extravagance of having too many live arms for the team to go around.
Not so says Girardi. He knows the overabundance of starting pitchers is better than too few. Girardi looked at the situation like an artist surveying his canvas.
"Do we feel a guy needs an extra day off, do we skip a guy to give him a little rest?," said the manager. "There are some different things you can do to be creative with a six-man rotation, if you do a six-man."
Too many pitchers, it's a problem any team would like.
The Yankees are 14-4 over the last eighteen games, their starters have a 3.15 ERA and the team has overtaken the Boston Red Sox for first place over that span.
Imagine, the Yankees with a surplus of pitching arms. Take that Phillies.