ANAHEIM -- A larger-than-life poster of Albert Pujols hangs prominently outside the front entrance of Angel Stadium, glaring upon all who approach the turnstiles. Lately, he hasn't seemed much less imposing to American League pitchers.

The Yankees arrived in Anaheim on Monday bracing for the challenge of attacking the slugger, who had homered in four of his last six games, and Pujols' hot streak did not catch any of them off guard.

"I really don't watch a lot of baseball outside of what we do, but it's no surprise," first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "I'm sure people made a big deal out of it, but if anyone thinks Albert Pujols is going to stay down for long, they're crazy."

Pujols has hit .288 with six homers and 17 RBIs over his last 17 games after beginning the year with a .190 average, one homer and nine RBIs in his first 30 games.

"It's surprising anytime you see someone of that caliber go through something like that," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You can think about it and say, you know what, he's changing leagues, there's huge expectations, it's a different environment, there's a lot of different things.


"And maybe that had something to do with it. But you know eventually that it was going to end, and it seems, unfortunately, that it has ended, because we're here."

Andy Pettitte, who will start on Tuesday, has enjoyed some success against Pujols. Pettitte has held him to just six singles in 28 at-bats, a .214 average.

"He's a guy that's going to hurt you if you make a mistake," Pettitte said. "Whether he's slumping or not, I would treat him the exact same way: You just know he's a great hitter. Make pitches and don't let him hurt you too much."

Workouts encouraging for Gardner, Robertson

ANAHEIM -- Brett Gardner and David Robertson inched one step closer to coming off the disabled list on Monday, working out at the Yankees' Minor League complex in Tampa, Fla.

Gardner took dry swings to test his strained right elbow and Robertson played catch without feeling any discomfort from a strained left oblique, which is encouraging news for a Yankees club that is looking forward to their respective returns.

"Everything went well, so they'll move on to whatever they have to do tomorrow," manager Joe Girardi said.

The Yankees have ruled out the idea of Robertson rejoining them on this road trip, making his earliest possible return date June 5 at Yankee Stadium against the Rays. Robertson hasn't pitched since May 11.

Girardi said that Gardner, who hasn't appeared in a big league game since April 17, will need to play in a few Minor League rehab games before the Yankees can seriously consider activating him.

Gardner's best-case scenario would be 10 days away, but the Yankees figure to be cautious because any further setback could mean they would be without the speedster until the All-Star break.

"I think he changes our lineup, the speed that he provides and his ability to create runs," Girardi said. "Everyone's going to have to hit and contribute, but he does give you a little different element than the rest of our team."

Yankees keep winning streak in perspective

ANAHEIM -- Derek Jeter stood in front of his Yankee Stadium locker last week and observed with some measure of frustration how it seemed that opposing clubs were playing 20 defenders in the field.

As the Yankees enjoy a season-high five-game winning streak, it doesn't quite appear that way anymore.

"It always feels better when you're winning," Jeter said. "But like I told you a week ago, it's a long season. We've got 100-something games left. You're going to have good stretches and bad stretches."

Jeter added his own revision to a well-traveled quote, offering with a smirk, "When things are going poorly, you're usually not as bad as it looks. When things are going good, you're always that good."

The Yankees have been hitting more consistently, paced by Mark Teixeira, who busted out to go 10-for-23 with three homers and nine RBIs in his last six starts. New York's starting pitching has also been solid; they've held opponents to three earned runs or fewer over the last seven games entering play Monday.

"Obviously it feels better to win," Jeter said. "But we just want to play well. If we play well, the wins will be there."

Bombers bits

• Yankees catcher Russell Martin returned to the lineup on Monday after sitting out Sunday's series finale at Oakland with a stiff neck. Martin said he suffered the injury lifting weights on Saturday.

• Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pitcher Ramon Ortiz was named the International League Pitcher of the Week for May 21-27. Ortiz, 39, was 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in starts against Columbus and Buffalo.

• The Yankees entered play on Monday 21-17 on Memorial Day since 1971, when the holiday began to be celebrated following the National Holiday Act of 1971. They did not play on Memorial Day in 1973, 2004 or 2005.


 • On this date in 1946, Yankee Stadium hosted its first night game as a crowd of 49,917 watched the Yankees lose to the Washington Senators, 2-1.