Against the last batter he faced last night, Ivan Nova felt some unfamiliar tightness in his right shoulder. He’d never felt it before. Not during his strong first half of this season, not in his previous rocky starts since the All-Star break and not during last night’s four-run fifth inning. Nova felt the tightness while facing his third and final batter of a 1-2-3 sixth inning.
“I was pitching my game without pain or anything,” Nova said this afternoon. “It was just in the last inning, on the last hitter. … After the game, I wasn’t worried about it. Today was when I felt it the most.”
Nova threw nothing but fastball’s that last at-bat. Joe Girardi said he noticed one of them registered at 90 mph, but Nova followed it with a 93-mph fastball and Girardi thought nothing more of it. Now the Yankees are sending Nova for tests in New York. It’s likely he’ll miss his next start and possible he’ll go on the disabled list.
“We don’t really think it’s a big thing, but we want to make sure,” Girardi said. “Obviously, we don’t think he’s going to make his next start. DL will be determined on what the doctor says. Short-term there’s a little concern, but I don’t think it’s anything serious.”
Nova pointed to the outside of his shoulder when asked where exactly he felt the tightness.
“I talked first to Cano (after the sixth inning), because I didn’t want to get out of the game,” Nova said. “I wanted to keep pitching. He said if I didn’t say anything, he was going to go talk to Joe. I told Tony and he told Joe and they took me out. … I’m always worried about my arm. I need to be 100 percent. With any kind of injury, you’ve got to feel concerned about it.”
• As you might expect, Girardi said the Yankees will likely keep David Phelps in the rotation to take Nova’s turn.
• Phelps, by the way, is available as a reliever tonight.
• Speaking of starting pitchers: Andy Pettitte threw 40 pitches on flat ground today, standing with his legs spread wide but not going through a normal delivery. He then threw 15 pitches while raising his leg in a kind of minimized delivery. He’s supposed to throw again on Saturday, again off flat ground. “I don’t think they’re going to let me get on a mound yet,” Pettitte said. “I think probably just a little bit more pushing off, a few more pitches and stuff like that. I probably didn’t even push off 100 percent today, (but) I know I was pushing off harder than I was the other day. I’m still being cautious. I knew they weren’t going to let me get on the mound on this trip so I just don’t want to have anything to set me back.”
• Absurdity of the day: Supported by nothing, ESPN host Skip Bayless today insinuated that Derek Jeter might be using some sort of performance enhancing drug. “What do you want me to say?” Jeter said in response. “I ain’t getting involved with this, man. You can say whatever you want to say now. There’s no repercussions. … Whenever you have people that anytime you bring something like this to light with guys that are doing things, it’s like, now you have everybody questioning everything. That’s the unfortunate thing. Maybe Skip should be tested.”
• Honestly, Jeter seemed to find the whole thing more funny than offensive.
• Speaking of steroids, here’s Girardi’s reaction to the Bartolo Colon suspension: “It’s sad. The idea behind the testing is to keep everything fair and to keep people from doing things. I mean, it’s sad. It’s not good for our sport.”
Associated Press photos