Colon happy to be back in the bigs

Colon happy to be back in the bigs

TAMPA, Fla. -- Bartolo Colon put up the numbers this spring to state his case for being in the rotation, but he is happy just to have made it back to the big leagues.

Colon, 37, will be on a Major League roster for the first time since 2009, having stamped his ticket by posting a 2.40 ERA in four spring starts spanning 15 innings.

"I feel very happy," Colon said through an interpreter. "I thank the Yankees for giving me the opportunity to be back in the Major Leagues again."

Colon walked one and struck out 17 this spring, posting better numbers than Freddy Garcia (5.93 ERA in 13 2/3 innings), but the Yankees believed Colon would be a better fit for their bullpen.

"I feel good wherever they need me," Colon said. "I didn't pitch last year. I'm glad that I made the team.

"I just need to prepare mentally. I haven't done that in a long time. Whatever they need, I just want to be there for them."

Colon was tabbed by the Yankees after he excelled pitching for bench coach Tony Pena's club in winter ball and quickly became one of manager Joe Girardi's most pleasant surprises of the spring. And Girardi isn't the only one who was surprised.

"It surprised me a lot," Colon said. "I haven't pitched like that in a long time."