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SEA@LAA: Williams sharp, strikes out five over eight

The way the early portion of the Angels' schedule was set up, manager Mike Scioscia was able to avoid using a fifth starter until the ninth game of the season. Unfortunately, those first eight games didn't unfold as Scioscia would have hoped, and the time to employ another starter is now.

So with a 3-5 record and hoping to win their first series of the young season, the Angels will call upon Jerome Williams to make his season debut when he squares off with the Yankees' Ivan Nova in Sunday night's series finale at 8:05 ET on ESPN.

Aside from the 2-0 record and 1.38 ERA posted thus far by Saturday's starter, C.J. Wilson, Angels starters -- including Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana -- have combined for a 5.75 ERA over the club's first eight games. In prime time on Sunday, the Angels will turn to a pitcher coming off two solid rehab outings at Class A Advanced Inland Empire after starting the season on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

"I looked at it like, 'Wow, going from High-A, facing some young kids, facing some kids that can swing the bat, to going to pitching in Yankee Stadium and facing almost a whole lineup of potential Hall of Famers,'" said Williams, who went 4-0 with a 3.68 ERA in 10 appearances (six starts) last season. "It's kind of nerve-wracking, but it's another game. Go out there, just take it like any other ballgame -- go out there and pitch your game."

As Williams begins his venture to secure a permanent role as the Halos' fifth starter, Nova will look to continue building his case for a spot in the Yankees rotation. Nova, a 16-game winner last season, limited the Orioles to two runs despite allowing 10 hits over seven innings in his season debut.

Though Nova's season-opening victory improved his record to 16-2 in his last 24 starts, dating back to last May, the fact remains that changes will need to be made to the rotation once right-hander Michael Pineda is healthy and lefty Andy Pettitte is set to return from retirement.

"Every time out, he's the same," shortstop Derek Jeter said after Nova's debut. "He had a lot of success last year. I thought his confidence got a little bit better there last season, the more success he had. It carried into today's game, but he pretty much has the same demeanor every time."

Angels: Bullpen shakeup
Following a rough outing against the Twins on Thursday, right-handed reliever Rich Thompson was designated for assignment, and the Angels recalled southpaw Brad Mills from Triple-A Salt Lake to take his spot.

Thompson posted a 3.00 ERA in 54 innings last year, his first full season in the Majors, but gave up four runs on five hits over 1 1/3 innings on Thursday in his second appearance this season. The Angels have 10 days to waive, trade or release Thompson.

As for Mills, who posted a 1.23 ERA in 14 2/3 Cactus League innings, this big league stint was short-lived. The Angels opted to send down Mills following Saturday's game to make room for Williams.

Yankees: Gardner sits with flu-like symptoms
Left fielder Brett Gardner sat out Saturday's 7-1 loss to the Angels with what manager Joe Girardi called flu-like symptoms. Though Girardi said that Gardner would be available off the bench if needed, the speedy outfielder never entered the lopsided contest.

It's possible that Gardner would have given way to Andruw Jones, with Wilson on the mound on Saturday, but Gardner's illness was ultimately the deciding factor.

"Gardy was pretty sick [on Friday] night," Girardi said before Saturday's game. "It kind of made my decision on what I was going to do easy today."

Worth noting
• Saturday's loss ended the Yankees' quest to record their first sweep of the Angels since doing so in a three-game set from July 29-31, 2003. The Halos have swept the Yanks four times since that series.

• Since 1988, the Yankees have won a season series over the Angels just five times. In those 24 seasons, the Halos won 11 series, the Yankees took five and the clubs split the other eight.

• Peter Bourjos is 4-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs in two career starts against Nova.

• The Yankees are one of five teams -- joining the Cubs, Indians, Tigers and Angels -- that Williams has never faced.

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