Last time the Yankees assigned Ivan Nova to the minor leagues, he returned four weeks later and won nine straight starts. Today, the Yankees are sending Nova down for a day to start in a minor league game. They didn’t want Nova facing the Orioles, so D.J. Mitchell will start tonight’s big league game.
“I think we have a pretty good idea (what Nova can do),” Joe Girardi said. “Sometimes it can be harder to pitch down there, I think. You have no scouting reports so it really comes down to making your pitches. You don’t know which breaking ball a guy hits better than the other, you don’t know if a guy hits the changeup, if they like the ball in and out. You can’t set them up either. So the bottom line is, you’ve got to make your pitches down there, or they’re going to hit you around.”
That’s more or less what Phil Hughes said when he pitched in a minor league game on Monday — he got outs when he made good pitches, and the hits he allowed came on mistakes — and really, results aren’t always the best measure of a pitcher in spring training. Nova has a 6.86 ERA this spring, but he really hasn’t pitched nearly as poorly as that number suggests.
“It’s been some innings that have gotten him,” Girardi said. “Like the other day, he was perfect through four, and then the fifth and sixth got him a little bit, and he was good again in the seventh. I think the biggest thing that I haven’t seen from him is the consistency in the location of his fastball, but I think it’s gotten better as spring training has went on.”