Ivan Nova is stepping back into the Yankees rotation. After a simulated game yesterday, Nova’s next outing will be on Saturday, when he’ll start in place of Freddy Garcia. Girardi has said that Nova should be able to throw close to 90 pitches.
“We’ve had struggles getting some length out of our starters,” Girardi said. “I like the way that he threw the other day, and we’re going to put him back in the rotation. This guy was really good for us for a substantial period of time, then he ran into some bumps, and we hope he’s beyond that.”
Nova went into the All-Star break with a 10-3 record and a 3.92 ERA, and he’s actually been especially good in the month of June. But in eight starts after the break, Nova went 1-4 with a 7.28 ERA before being shutdown because of inflammation in his rotator cuff.
“You’re never sure which one comes first,” Girardi said. “If it’s the physical where your mechanics are a little bit off and you get frustrated and you don’t have your consistent stuff and then you start thinking about, what do I need to do? Or is it the other way around? He was on a roll for us and pitched very well, and we need him to do it again.”
Garcia will move into the bullpen and should be available as early as tomorrow. It seems natural that Garcia will be a long man, but Girardi said he could also matchup with Garcia and use him in shorter stints depending on the hitters. Garcia hasn’t won any of his past four starts — he’d won three in a row before that — and he’s pitched to a 7.64 ERA since August 20.
• Andy Pettitte threw 55 pitches through four simulated innings today. He covered first base and made plays during the sim game, and he fielded a few rolled bunts at the end. He feels ready to pitch. “Can I give you 100 pitches? No,” Pettitte said. “But I feel like my stuff has been crisp. If they want me to do this, then I want to get back in
there. I’m comfortable with doing that.”
• Girardi said he’s still not sure what Pettitte will do next. “It might be something that we do, I can’t tell you right now,” Girardi said. “We got through today, which was really good and he’s worked hard to get to this point because it’s been on a little bit shorter rest and we have to see how he bounces back.” Girardi said Pettitte will be evaluated when the team gets home on Friday, and it sounds like another thumbs up from the doctor would be the final step toward getting Pettitte back.
• Pettitte said he could throw “a good 60-65 hard pitches without being concerned.” Girardi suggested Pettitte could go as high as 75 or so.
• One last Pettitte note, if only because you’ll probably read this quote a lot tonight and tomorrow: “It’s exciting,” Pettitte said. “Obviously, we had a big lead and that lead is gone, but this is what it’s all about. If you don’t embrace this and you don’t enjoy this, if you’re scared of this situation, you’re not going to be very successful. So it’s exciting and it’s fun. Do you want to fail? No. But you can’t be scared of failure, that’s for sure.”
• Girardi said David Phelps’ performance today has no impact on the decision to bring back Pettitte. If the Yankees are convinced Pettitte is ready, he’ll move into the rotation no matter how well the other starters are pitching.
• The past few times out, Joba Chamberlain has given the Yankees a legitimate boost. This is what the team had in mind when he came off the disabled list. “It was kind of our hope that we could lengthen our bullpen,” Girardi said. “He worked really hard to get where he’s at. He seemed to find his command and has been more consistent the last three or four outings. That’s what we were hoping for.”
• Phelps has had some trouble with the first inning lately. He’ll try to avoid that tonight (#analysis). “I think the command of his fastball (is key),” Girardi said. “You look at the two starts that he had, that he ran into trouble. He walked a few guys. I think two starts ago, and his last start he left some fastballs up.”
Associated Press photos