For at least one more turn through the rotation, Ivan Nova will work as a Yankees starter. Javier Vazquez has been bumped to the bullpen and will be available in relief tomorrow. Nova will start in his place on Sunday.
“After that I’m not sure what we’ll do,” Joe Girardi said. “Last time we skipped Javy a start, it seemed to kick start him. We’re going to put the kid back out there. We liked what we saw last night.”
Beyond Sunday, Girardi left just about every option open. Vazquez isn’t going to start Monday, but it’s possible he’ll miss only one start. Nova has a spot in the rotation right now, but it’s hard to say how many starts he’ll get.
“If a guy gets hot, you’re going to look at him every time and maybe send him out there every five days,” Girardi said. “This gives us a plan through Sunday and it gives us some time to talk about it and evaluate what we want to do.”
It’s possible this could, at some point, affect Phil Hughes. It sounds like Hughes is not especially close to his innings limit, but Girardi said there are not enough innings left for Hughes to pitch seven innings every time out through the end of the season. If the Yankees have to skip Hughes once, either Nova or Vazquez — depending on how you want to look it — could take that spot. Of course, Andy Pettitte is coming back at some point too.
“We might determine that maybe we need to skip someone else,” Girardi said. “There’s a lot of things that go into this. It’s not all tied into Nova… We’ll be flexible with Hughes as we’re moving down the stretch here because you never know what he’s going to give you every night. You don’t want to get too locked in, but (this rotation change) might give us an opportunity to shorten his game a lot one time or even skip him, but I don’t have a plan right now to do that.”
• Girardi said the Yankees will “probably” go with 13 pitches through September 1.
• Girardi said once again that he has no plans of using a six-man rotation.
• Derek Jeter has a slightly sore leg. Of course, Jeter said it’s a complete non-issue. When Mark Feinsand asked which knee was bothering him, Jeter literally said to write about whichever leg would be easier to write about. “His leg’s been a little sore, but all our guys legs are a little sore,” Girardi said. “It doesn’t really hurt him except to slow down. Not sprinting, not when he’s going after balls.”
• Sitting Jeter yesterday, Girardi said, was because of the 17 games in a row, not because of the leg. The problem is kind of at the top of the shin, on the outside of the leg, near the knee. It’s not related to the heel problem from earlier this season.
• Any innings limit for Nova? “If he does, I haven’t heard about the Nova rules,” Girardi said.
UPDATE, 6:15 p.m.: Blue Jays lineup
Travis Snider LF
Yunel Escobar SS
Jose Bautista RF
Vernon Wells CF
Adam Lind DH
Aaron Hill 2B
Lyle Overbay 1B
John Buck C
Edwin Encarnacion 3B
Associated Press photo of Nova