Chris Nelson was a Yankee barely long enough to get his pinstriped uniform wrinkled. The 10-game stay in May, though, always will remain with him.

"Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia, they all came up to me when I got here. Mo [Rivera] came over and said 'Welcome aboard,' " Nelson said in the visitors' clubhouse at Yankee Stadium. "Trust me, I enjoyed my time here with the Yankees. I learned a lot. It's a good place to play."

It never was a better place for him than Thursday, when he hit two home runs, including a grand slam, as the starting third baseman for the Angels in their 8-4 win. Mike Scioscia, his current manager, said, "He's got some pop . . . it's a sign of more to come, because there is no doubt he can drive the ball."

Scioscia also cited Nelson's defense for originating the double play that ended the Yankees' bases-loaded threat in the third, when the score was 1-1.

Nelson could turn out to be a waiver-claim bargain for the Angels, having begun the season with the Rockies and gone through the Yankees' revolving door at third base while Alex Rodriguez was recovering from surgery.

"Nellie did OK for us," Joe Girardi said. "We knew he had had a down year this year, but we still were willing to take an opportunity on him and he helped us. We moved on to David Adams."

Now Nelson is doing all he can to fill the Angels' void at third. He said that after a strikeout his first time up Thursday, "I made some adjustments.

"I just saw the ball well today and put some good swings on the ball," he said. When he was asked if the Yankees stars who had been so welcoming three months ago said anything to him this time, he smiled and said, "No, not today."

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