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Yankees sign pitcher Bartolo Colon

General manager Brian Cashman said on Tuesday that the Yankees are one starter away from contending for the World Series in 2011. 

He did not mean Bartolo Colon.

However,  Cashman confirmed that the Yankees have signed the 37-year-old righthander to a minor league contract.

Colon was 2-1 with a 1.93 earned run average in the Dominican Winter League. "He was throwing well in the winter league pitching for Tony Pena's team,'' Cashman said, "so we invited him to camp.'' 

Colon will be invited to spring training where he will compete with Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre for a spot at the back end of  the rotation.

"The typical non-roster invitee,'' Cashman said.

Colon last pitched in the majors in 2009 for the White Sox and went 3-6 in 12 starts. He has a 13-year career record of 153-103.

Colon will earn $900,000 if he makes the team.

Colon's best season came with the Angels in 2005. At age 32, Colon went 21-8 and won the Cy Young Award.

"That's way in the past,'' Cashman said when reminded of that season. "That's not what we're getting.''

Colon injured his arm while pitching against the Yankees in the postseason of 2005 and went 14-21 through the 2009 season.   

The Yankees are still awaiting word from Andy Pettitte, who has yet to decide if he will pitch this season. The Yankees failed to land prime free agent Cliff Lee and a published report yesterday quoted Hank Steinbrenner saying Lee was off hunting when Cashman came to recruit him for the Yankees. 

By the way, in 2002 Colon was traded  from Cleveland to Montreal in a deal that also sent  Lee to the Indians.  

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