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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Pregame notes: Phelps starting tomorrow; Nova to the bullpen

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes on Oct 01, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Ivan Nova admitted that he wasn’t exactly caught off guard. Just a few minutes before Joe Girardi announced the decision to the media, Girardi told Nova that it would be David Phelps — not Nova himself — making the start tomorrow. Nova knew such a decision was a possibility.

“Of course,” Nova said. “The way I was pitching, yeah. They were expecting more from me.”

Nova has a 7.05 ERA since the All-Star break, a complete change from last year’s second half when he emerged as a Rookie of the Year candidate and a potential rotation fixture for the Yankees. Nova said the problem has been obvious — “No command,” he said — and so now he’ll move to the bullpen, unsure when he’ll pitch again.

“This is a game where you have to be productive on a consistent basis,” Girardi said. “This kid has done a lot of good things for us. Let’s not forget he won 16 games last year, 12 games this year and we still have him in our plans. Right now, he’s just struggling a little bit.”

Of course, the decision cuts two ways. It speaks to the disappointment in Nova, but it also speaks to the confidence in Phelps who’s been a real discovery this season.

“I’ve been talking to a lot of people back home, my parents, my wife,” Phelps said. “We haven’t played a stress-free game since I’ve been back, since like July 10. It’s been coming down the wire the the entire season so far, so nothing’s going to change. … I want to go out there and pitch. I want to pitch in big games, and they don’t get a whole lot bigger than down the stretch in a pennant race.”

• Mark Teixeira said he’s confident that his strained calf is better today than it was when he tried to come back three weeks ago. “That’s why I’m playing,” Teixeira said. “It was a really good week in Tampa, very productive. We accomplished everything that we wanted to accomplish.”

• Teixeira said he played in two regular games against Yankees minor leaguers plus a simulated game. That gave him a chance to test the calf through the most common in-game situations — making plays at first base, running hard out of the box, running the bases — but he’s still going to try to be cautious. “Probably just subconsciously I will,” he said. “Hopefully there’s no issues where I have to take it to another level. I really only have a couple of levels. Speed isn’t really my game, but if I do need to leg out a double or score on a single from second base, that will be a good test for it.”

• No thought of DHing today. Teixeira believes playing first base will help him keep the calf loose.

• Teixeira said he does not feel like he’s rushing back simply because of the standings. “I would want to come back and get my timing down anyway just for the playoffs,” he said. “Even if we had a big league right now, I would probably want to test it out anyway.”

• Although Girardi is ready to put Phelps in the rotation in place of Ivan Nova, he’s not ready to push Phelps ahead of Phil Hughes. Girardi made it clear that Hughes will be a part of the postseason rotation. “We look at Hughesy as one of the starters for us,” Girardi said. “That’s our expectation there.”

• Hal Steinbrenner briefly held court in the hallway outside the Yankees clubhouse today. There were maybe a dozen people there, and I only caught the tail end of it when he once again said he plans to cut payroll to stay below the luxury tax. “You are talking about a 10 percent reduction in payroll,” Steinbrenner said. “I don’t see that as an outrageous concept. I never have.”

• Steinbrenner was asked whether jobs are on the line if the Yankees don’t win the division. He said it’s not something he’s thinking about right now.

• Girardi said he has not conisdered whether CC Sabathia would start a potential wild card game on Friday. Sabathia would be starting on three days rest. “Let me worry about these three before I have to make that decision,” Girardi said. “We have people lined up to make starts. We gotta just see where we’re at.”

• Phelps said he’s basically treating that relief appearance on Friday as a bullpen. He’ll throw flat ground today and feels like he’ll be fine for tomorrow. “I’m a week out of my last start, so (the pitch limit) can’t be that far off from 95 to 100,” Phelps said.

Associated Press photos



47 Responses to “Pregame notes: Phelps starting tomorrow; Nova to the bullpen”

  1. Warning Track Power October 1st, 2012 at 5:37 pm


    Here’s one scenario that has the Yankees opening up in Arlington for the ALDS:
    Yankees sweep and finish 95-67 #1 seed
    O’s lose one become WC 94-68
    A’s sweep and finish 94-68
    Rangers become the 2nd WC 93-69

    Rangers beat the O’s and face the #1 seed in Arlington, the Yankees.

    Would you favor the Yankees in that matchup?
    Why are you forcing me to make such a difficult decision?
    I need at least 7 days to decide, LOL!!!

  2. Yazman October 1st, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Who would you start in a tie-breaker game in Baltimore?

    Losing the division might be better than tieing — with the risk of TWO one-game playoffs just to get to the ALCS.

    If we tie, I’d avoid pitching Andy, and save him for either the Wild Card (if we lose the tie-breaker) or the ALDS if we win.

    Worst case scenario is using both Andy and CC before we even get to the ALDS.

    What do you think?

  3. Yazman October 1st, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    ***I meant “the risk of TWO one-game playoffs just to get to the *ALDS*”

  4. Yankee Trader October 1st, 2012 at 5:50 pm



    If the Rangers win tonight you won’t have to worry about the Rangers and Yankees playing each other in the ALDS. :)

  5. Yankee Trader October 1st, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I like Phelps in the rotation. Works fast, good pickoff move. I’m not suggesting Hughes go to the pen but he has great numbers vs Lefties and could very well be useful if the Yankees need more than LOOGY Rapada or worn out Logan in the ALDS.

  6. G. Love October 1st, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I wish Girardi could just end the sentence, “he’s just struggling” and not throw the “a little bit” at the end of it.

    It’s just 3 words, but it’s difference between being honest and making excuses/telling fans they’re not seeing what they think they’re seeing.

    It’s what makes him disingenuous to me.

    Nova’s struggling. Period. We know the Yankees don’t think he’s garbage and will give him another chance next year. Just he’s struggling, he’s going to work on some things on the side and we hope to get him straightened out as soon as we can.

  7. kd October 1st, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    nova’s a classic case of sophomore slump. he’d be a great pitcher in the nl west. just give him time to adjust next year, he’ll win 15 games

  8. mick October 1st, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    CC on 3 days
    Phelps….5 starters.

  9. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:07 pm


    I like Phelps as much as anyone here.

    That said I sometimes worry that expectations are being set too high for him.

    Though he seems to overcome each and every obstacle thrown in his path the same could be said for Nova at one time.

    The problem is that young Pitchers tend to struggle as part of their development.

    I wonder what will happen if Phelps does the same at some point.

    Does he get thrown under the bus too ?

    Patience is required for young starters and their development is rarely a straight line.

    Despite Phelps impressive performance this year I fully expect him to have some setbacks and regressions.

    Bottom line is that if the Yankees want to develop their own they shouldn’t give up on them prematurely.

    They have to stick with guys when they struggle and stay the course.

  10. PacoDooley October 1st, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I like the headline from the

    “Phelps to the Rotation, Nova to the Bullpen, Praise be to Logic”

  11. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    You know what.

    A lot of people are down on Nova right now. Justifiably so.

    Fact of the matter is that next season he could come back strong as ever and have a great season.

    He’s young nad he’s still learning.

    The desire and the talent are still there.

  12. fantasygame101 October 1st, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    nova or phelps? the same problem for both. Walks, HR and xbh. Any given day, one is better than the other so any which way has a 50 percent chance.

  13. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    And I wouldn’t write Mr. Pineda off just yet either.


  14. Jerkface October 1st, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    nova or phelps? the same problem for both. Walks, HR and xbh. Any given day, one is better than the other so any which way has a 50 percent chance.

    Nah, nova is way worse on the regular. Batters hit .226 .307 .386 .692 vs Phelps. Hrs are a problem, but he isn’t getting tagged all the time. Batters hit .288 .349 .511 .860 vs Nova. It is not close to the same problem. Nova gives up 3 more hits per 9 and more for extra bases.

  15. Yankee Trader October 1st, 2012 at 6:14 pm


    If I were a GM looking for young cost controlled major league proven/ready starting pitchers from the Yankees for the likes of a Gordon or Upton, etc., I’m asking for Phelps, not Nova, not Hughes as part of a trade.

    So I don’t thnk he’ll be thrown under the bus………..maybe off the bus, but I hope not! :)

  16. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Old Indian say, “It take many moons to develop young Pitcher”.


  17. kd October 1st, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    good point mtu about pineda. any news on him? hopefully he shows up to camp in great shape and gets after it

  18. Ken Phelps October 1st, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    David phelps is no automatic… But he deserves the start over nova..

  19. Jerkface October 1st, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    I like Phelps a lot, but he isn’t untouchable. I’d give him up for headley or upton

  20. Ken Phelps October 1st, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Yeah Pineda is a big key next year… He could be a big plus or a big minus

  21. Yankee Trader October 1st, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Nova also had minor injury issues that shut him down during last years ALDS game with forearm tightness, and this year with some shoulder “tendonitis.”

  22. Ken Phelps October 1st, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Jerkface says:
    October 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm
    I like Phelps a lot, but he isn’t untouchable. I’d give him up for headley or upto
    Agree… Not sure padres or d backs do that

  23. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:18 pm


    I’m not so sure of that.

    Like I said just because Nova is down now doesn’t negate his obvious talent, or determination.

    Phelps has yet to fail in a big way but he probably will too at some point.

    He has given us a very small sample.

    Nova’s is a lot larger.

    If Nova can find a way to consistently command his fb he undoubtedly has the best stuff of any of the three.

    The question is, can he ?

    We’ll find out more next season.

  24. Jerkface October 1st, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Agree… Not sure padres or d backs do that

    Not straight up, but it would be part of a package

  25. Jerkface October 1st, 2012 at 6:20 pm


    I don’t think his stuff is really ‘the best’, since it clearly lacks deception. Command can help him from serving up meatballs regularly, but it won’t help him when he does misfire.

    Although who knows, maybe when hitters aren’t expecting him to hang change ups, throw fastballs down the middle, or hang breaking balls his stuff wiill be more deceptive :)

  26. Nick in SF October 1st, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Phelps is “sneaky white” — there’s your deception.

  27. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:21 pm


    The news on Pineda so far has not been too good.

    He was caught for DWI while rehabbing in Tampa.

    That was not good.

    Hopefully he was issued a stern warning and he continues to get healthy.

    The longer term prognosis for guys with shoulder surgeries is not good.

    Maybe he will prove to be the exception.

    In any case, way too early to be thinking he winds up on a trash heap.

  28. Yankee Trader October 1st, 2012 at 6:23 pm


    Yes I’d do that, but Phelps wouldn’t be the centerpiece of a trade for those two. Throw in DRob and you might get their attention. Throw in Sanchez and Montgomery and maybe a rebuilding team will go there.

    Yankees just don’t match up well if the other team wants cost controlled, major league ready, young players and especially a proven young OF’er.

  29. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:24 pm


    My point was that it’s way too early to write young Ivan off.

    If he gets that command down he’s a very, very good pitcher.

    He’s proven that.

    I hope he works hard over the Winter and figures it out.

    There is a lot to admire in that young Man and I’m pulling for him.


  30. austinmac October 1st, 2012 at 6:26 pm


    The Indians did know how to develop pitchers like Allie “Big Chief” Reynolds.

  31. kd October 1st, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    thanks mtu

    had a random thought: better prognosis for the future: mets or red sox? I really want to say Mets….

  32. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:27 pm



    Thanks for pointing that out.

  33. Yankee Trader October 1st, 2012 at 6:28 pm


    Anything from Pineda would be a plus. However comingto camp out of shape, the DUI and the obvious immaturity plus the major surgery don’t bode well for him.

    Did Billy Conners get “fired” over his[Pineda's] Tampa wrong way highway DUI at 2:30 in the morning?

  34. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:29 pm


    The Sux are gonna have a ton of money to spend this OS.

  35. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:30 pm



    Where there’s smoke….


  36. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    IMO the Sux as well as the Mutts suffer from Toxic ownership.

  37. Jerkface October 1st, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I’m not expecting Pineda’s fastball to be there. He lost 1 whole year to injury and velocity is something that decreases naturally over time, so very likely that natural decay+injury = much slower FB.

    Doesn’t mean he won’t be a good pitcher, but unless he has that 95 mph avg fb I think he is going to be very much in the same mold as Hughes/Nova’s pitching progression.

  38. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:33 pm


    According to some Pineda already has a working 3rd pitch so that should help.


  39. Yankee Trader October 1st, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Time to go.

    Go CC and shut down the gnome-less Red Sox.

    Tex- surprise us with a Cano-like bunt down the 3rd base line vs the shift to ignite a big inning.

    Yankees win and the bullpen gets a rest.

    Until later.

  40. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    See ya later YT.

    Hope you can enjoy the game.


  41. Yankee Trader October 1st, 2012 at 6:35 pm


    Can’t wait to see your photos honoring the Yankees when they win the division!

    Good night.

  42. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:36 pm


    Good thought. I’ll try to accomodate.


  43. MTU October 1st, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Enjoy the game folks.

    Let’s do our part, and hopefully the Maddons will do theirs.


  44. trisha - true pinstriped blue October 1st, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Hoping MLB has our game. I DON’T want to have to watch NESN.

  45. JobaTipsHisCap October 1st, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Hopefully I am wrong, but I think yanks wont win div after next 3 games. But they will win over bal if they tie. For Wc game, they should beat oak, but lose to LAA.

  46. trisha - true pinstriped blue October 1st, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    MLB has the Rays. Oh well.

  47. Ken Phelps October 1st, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Saw the Red Sox line-up… Yuck…cc has to dominate this group of minor leaguers

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