Bartolo Colon has been one of the biggest surprise stories during the first two months of the baseball season, his comeback ranking among the more unlikely events of 2011.
Colon continued that story on Monday, pitching a four-hit shutout against the A's, leading the Yankees to a 5-0 win in Oakland. Colon struck out six and didn't walk a batter, throwing his 103rd and final pitch at 95 mph.
"That has always been his trademark, even when he was with Cleveland and the Angels," manager Joe Girardi said. "That was who Bartolo was. I don't know if you necessarily expect it with all the innings he's logged and all the injuries that he went through, but that was in his DNA."
Colon has pitched 66 1/3 innings in 11 games this season, eight of them starts. He's 3-3 with a 3.26 ERA, ranking him as one of the Yankees' most dependable starters.
The Yankees gave Colon two extra days between his last start and this one, and the 38-year-old will have an extra day between each of his next two outings thanks to some well-placed off-days.
Nobody knows whether Colon can stay healthy and give the Yankees a full season of starts, but Girardi believes if they're careful with the veteran, he will be able to continue taking the mound when his turn comes up.
"As he logs more innings, he's kind of in some different water for him because he's older and he hasn't done this for a while where he's made 32 starts, but his stamina looks fine," Girardi said.
"The big thing about Bartolo is he never throws a lot of pitches. Very seldom do you see him throw 100 pitches in five innings; he may throw 100 in a game, but his innings are pretty economical.
"He doesn't have long innings and it doesn't take a lot out of him."
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