Jerome Williams completed his final tuneup before rejoining the Angels rotation Tuesday night, allowing two earned runs and six hits, striking out four and walking none in six innings for Class-A Inland Empire against Lake Elsinore.
Williams, who missed more than three weeks of spring training because of a left hamstring strain, was told by team officials he will start Sunday night against the New York Yankees in a game that will be nationally televised by ESPN.
The 30-year-old right-hander, who threw 90 pitches Tuesday night, was competing with top pitching prospect Garrett Richards for the fifth rotation spot, but Williams figured to get first crack at the job based on his strong 2011 finish and the fact he is out of minor-league options.
To demote Williams, who went 4-0 with a 3.68 earned-run average in 10 games, six of them starts, after his Aug. 17 promotion last season, the Angels would have to pass him through waivers, where Williams probably would be claimed by another club.
Richards made a strong push for the job and pitched well again for triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday night, allowing one earned run and five hits, striking out eight and walking two in 6 1/3 innings against Reno.