Ivan Nova has lacked consistency this spring, but he’s generally thrown more good innings than bad. He’d shown enough to understand why the Yankees felt confident keeping him in the rotation to open the season.
Today, though, was something completely different.
Nova called it one of the worst days of his life, which was surely an exageration but also spoke to just how poorly he was pitching. Through 2.2 innings, the Yankees No. 4 starter allowed five runs on eight hits, two walks and two hit batters.
“I was like, lazy,” Nova said. “Sometimes when you’re pitching, sometimes you feel you’re right and (sometimes) you’re not. (Larry Rothschild) agreed with me that I was lazy today out there. Maybe that’s why I didn’t get in a good rhythm.”
“Lazy, like arm lazy, body lazy,” Nova said. “My body feels like it was sleeping or something like that.”
Seems like “lazy” is Nova’s way of explaining that he couldn’t get himself up and going for today’s start. He stressed several times that he’s physically 100 percent. He wasn’t hurting today, wasn’t sore or injured, just never felt quite right. Could be one of those days. Could be going through the spring motions. Whatever the reason, his ERA jumped to 8.06.
“You try not to get too caught up in spring training,” Girardi said. “You want to know how the ball is coming out of a guy’s hand, and up until today I thought it was coming out really pretty good. Today it wasn’t for whatever reason. … He wasn’t using his lower half. I can’t tell you exactly why. You can hunt for a number of reasons. Was it due to the last start. Was it due to the bus ride. Was it due to just being fatigued. Who knows? Bottom line is he just didn’t use his legs today.”
• Although the Yankees seem to have all they need in-house, Brian Cashman said today that he’ll look for available trade and waiver options when spring training ends. “We’ll look at it all, absolutely,” Cashman said. “I don’t know what to expect. We’ll react to whatever becomes available and evaluate it compared to what we got, but we have a lot of locked-in situations that we have money committed to. We’re not going to take on money, I can tell you that. Until we take on money, and then I’ll tell you we took on money.”
• Nick Swisher and his recurring groin injury seem to be just fine. Swisher homered again today, and he also doubled, raising his spring average to .345. He’s hit really well since returning from the injury.
• Speaking of hitting really well, Doug Bernier went 2-for-3 this afternoon and has a .361 average for the spring. He’s not going to make the team unless Eduardo Nunez gets hurt again, but he might have put himself on the map if the Yankees need an infielder during the season. “I thought he had a very good spring,” Girardi said. “He’s not a young guy, but I think he opened a lot of eyes. The improvement with his bat, and he’s always had a glove. You can put him anywhere. He’s very flexible. It’s a guy that opened some eyes.”
• David Phelps pitched 1.1 scoreless innings. D.J. Mitchell allowed one run on two hits through three innings. Phelps has a 2.08 ERA. Mitchell has a 2.60. “We’ve said all along that these guys are really close,” Girardi said. “And we’ve got to make a decision.” Warren is not scheduled to pitch tomorrow, so this will be the last bit of information before the Yankees settle on their long reliever.
• For whatever it’s worth, it was brought up before today’s game that Phelps seems like more of a strikeout guy and Mitchell more of a groundball guy. Here’s how Girardi responded: “When you look for a long man, you look for a guy that can give you distance and is a real strike-thrower. Hopefully he can get some quick innings and save your bullpen. I believe Mitchell has a swing-and-miss changeup, too. They’re all really close. That’s a tough decision we have to make.”
• Although a stress fracture in the elbow certainly sounds like a season-threatening injury for a pitcher, Cashman is hopeful Rule 5 pick Cesar Cabral will be back this season. “I guess it could be (season-ending),” Cashman said. “I’d say more likely you’ll see him up and running later in the year.”
• According to the AP in Tampa, Mariano Rivera threw a 21-pitch simulated game today. He last pitched in a real game on Sunday and will now have two days off before Opening Day. CC Sabathia also threw a bullpen today, a pretty standard 43-pitch between-starts side.
• Also from the AP in Tampa: In his rehab from Tommy John surgery, David Aardsma has started throwing to a catcher from 60 feet on flat ground.
• In case you missed it in the game post: 1B Jorge Vazquez has been released. A team source said the Yankees prefered Steve Pearce at first base in Triple-A, and the Yankees weren’t sure Vazquez would be happy with another season in the minors. … Also, Jack Curry has reported that neither Jayson Nix nor Dewayne Wise was offered a spot on a big league roster,  which means they can’t use their outs and will open the season in Triple-A with the Yankees.
• It’s kind of an odd way to carry two Rule 5 picks, but the Yankees will keep both Cabral and Brad Meyers on the 40-man roster out of spring training. They’ll both open on the disabled list with elbow and shoulder injuries. Meyers is ready to pitch again and — I assume — will open the season on rehab assignment with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Wonder if he could be their fifth starter while one of their expected starters opens in the big league bullpen. “That’s not the way we drew it up but that’s the way the cookie crumbles for us right now,” Cashman said. “I can’t offer (Meyers) back while he’s hurt. When you offer him back you’re certifying that he’s healthy. I can’t do that and get away with it.”
• Have to feel a little bit bad for Mark Montgomery. After a huge debut season last year, his big league spring training debut included just one batter: He gave up a walkoff home run to Ike Davis in the ninth. Montgomery is heading for Tampa to open the season.
Associated Press photos