Nova confident of place in rotation

2012 was not a good year for Ivan Nova. After a very strong finish and 3.70 ERA in 2011 catapulted him into the role of number two starter for the 2011 ALDS, Nova became an extra base hit allowing machine and saw his ERA balloon to a whopping 5.02 before a shoulder injury ended his season early. So after coming into camp as a hot commodity, this year he’s damaged goods fighting a battle for the final spot in the starting rotation with David Phelps, who will be playing that same darling role Nova occupied last spring.

Nova, however, remains confident in his abilities, and isn’t outwardly worried about his place on the team. “I’m going to be there,” Nova told Anthony McCarron after a workout in Tampa yesterday. “Just do my work. It doesn’t cross my mind that I’m going to be in the minor leagues. I’m going to be in the rotation, that’s what I’m working for.”  Nova also told McCarron that he falls into a habit of throwing pitches even though he knows he can’t command them, which is probably not a good approach.

My guess is that this is one of those kind-of-but-not-really “competitions” the Yankees have been putting on of late, and that Nova is the early favorite to win the spot. That’s mostly because Phelps has already shown he can handle multiple oles out of the bullpen, however, whereas Nova would likely have to go to the minors. That said, I don’t think that Nova is going to get that much rope, so he’ll definitely need to at least be respectable in Spring Training to hold the job.

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

3 thoughts on “Nova confident of place in rotation

  1. uyf1950

    I agree somewhat with the premise that Nova heads into spring training with a slight advantage over Phelps for the 5th starting spot. BUT, I think with a strong showing by Phelps he can negate that advantage. I really think the 5th spot is more wide open then some may believe. Also there may be a slight incentive for the Yankees for the Yankees to give the starting job to Phelps since he will still be a pre-arb player in 2014 versus Nova being arbitration eligible for the 2014. If Nova heads into arbitration having been in the bullpen for the 2013 he's likely to receive a smaller award then if he had been a starter., And I think every penny is going to count in 2014.

  2. chris

    I don't think they care about paying either of those two guys. Hughes on the other hand is a FA and due a big payday if he has a good year. That being said, Nova has electric stuff and needs some work to figure out how to get back whatever it is (mechanics, mojo, arm angle, etc.) that he lost. Or maybe, as he stated, he throws stupid pitches and needs to be treated like Tim Robbins in Bull Durham: shake me off and I will tell the hitter what you are throwing. Putting him in the pen only hinders the arm of someone who clearly has better pure "stuff" and upside than anyone in the rotation under the age of 32. Or anyone above the AA level for that matter. (Pineda being on the DL and who knows what he will be after shoulder surgery).

  3. Norm

    Nova, however, remains confident in his abilities, and isn’t outwardly worried about his place on the team.
    That quote is, to me, exactly Nova's problem. He's TOO confident in his abilities. How many times last year, after a bad outing, did we hear him quoted as saying he thought he pitched well? Either he's delusional, or he just doesn't get it. Thinking you're successful, and actually being successful, are two different things.

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