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Ivan Nova has to compete for a spot in Yankees’ rotation

Feb 15, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT

Ivan Nova (47)

Last season Ivan Nova was dumped from the Yankees’ rotation down the stretch and then left off the playoff roster, and manager Joe Girardi said yesterday that he’s not guaranteed a starting job this year.

Girardi told Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger that Nova “has to go out and prove himself” in order to claim the fifth starter spot, with David Phelps serving as his primary competition.

Nova’s secondary numbers were much better than his ugly 5.02 ERA last season, but two years ago his 3.70 ERA and 16-4 record were much better than his secondary numbers. Overall he has a 4.41 ERA in 61 career starts through age 25, while Phelps is the same age and has started just 11 games as a big leaguer.

Seems pretty safe to say Nova is the favorite to be the Yankees’ fifth starter, but it makes sense that Girardi wants him to have to work for it.

  1. Kevin S. - Feb 15, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    It does make sense to make him work for it, but honestly I hope he gets it. I like Phelps much better in the swing man/fireman type role where he can spot-start if needed but be primarily brought in around the sixth or seventh inning and be given one pass through the lineup.

  2. uyf1950 - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    I think that comment “Nova “has to go out and prove himself” in order to claim the fifth starter spot, with David Phelps serving as his primary competition.” is true for the most part. I think Nova does have a very slight advantage heading into ST in the eyes of the Yankees. But it is a very slight lead. If he faulters in any way OR Phelps has an exception ST then I think all bets are off and Phelps could certainly win the job.

    • uyf1950 - Feb 15, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      edit: “exceptional” ST

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 15, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      I can live with either of them as the 5th starter.

    • pisano - Feb 15, 2013 at 5:37 PM

      My friend….I completely agree, however I feel Phelps has better command than Nova, and as you say if Nova shows any signs of being erratic as he was last year, Phelps will definitely slip in there. Personally I feel Phelps would probably be the best long man of the two, but down the road and I mean in the near future there is a spot for both these guys in the starting rotation, as you say, just my opinion

  3. yankeepunk3000 - Feb 15, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    I’m guessing it was a softmore slump, tired from throwing so much and in a real competitive atmosphere. I’m sure he will settle in and probally be a good number for or here’s hoping number 3 behind C.C. and Pinieda

  4. kappy32 - Feb 16, 2013 at 1:50 AM

    He followed the same path as Phil Hughes did a few years ago. Hughes won 18 games with a bloated ERA then had his W-L record accurately resemble his ERA the following year. Hughes bounced back somewhat last year, but still was below average – pretty much what Hughes will be for his career. If Nova gets the 5th spot, I expect a very similar year to Hughes’ 2012 & I don’t think Phelps will be any worse than Nova will be. Yankee fans need to recognize that their two young starters, Nova & Hughes, just aren’t very good & were yet another case of the Yankee organization over-hyping their “prospects.”

  5. bbil2012 - Feb 16, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Considering he’s the best pitcher in the world he should lock up that 5 spot, no problem.

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