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Pregame notes: Yankees taking their time with Nova

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Ivan Nova [2]

The Yankees seem to be in little rush to activate Ivan Nova.

Down in Tampa, Nova threw a light side today. He’s already pitched in a few extended spring training games, and Girardi said Nova “felt good” today, yet there are very few details about an exact plan for what comes next.

“We’ll make sure he feels OK and we’ll go from there,” Girardi said.

Nova has shown that he can be a very good big league starter, but he’s also fallen flat through extended stretches. He was brutal in the second half of last year, and he wasn’t pitching especially well before landing on the disabled list this season. With David Phelps more than holding his own in the rotation, and Adam Warren pitching well in a long relief role out of the bullpen, the Yankees don’t seem to be in a real rush to get Nova back.

If you assume Joba Chamberlain will eventually replace Dellin Betances, and Andy Pettitte will eventually replace Vidal Nuno — would you be willing to activate Nova at the expense of Phelps or Warren or Shawn Kelley or Preston Claiborne?

“We’re able to be patient because we want to make sure he’s healthy when he comes back,” Girardi said. “Then you get in the problem of, he pitches a game and then you’ve got to put him back on the DL. We don’t want to do that.”

Andy Pettitte [3]• Andy Pettitte is going to play catch either Thursday or Friday. “Then we’ll do some long toss, a bullpen and hopefully work it up to a simulated game,” Girardi said. For now, the plan is for Pettitte to do his work with the Yankees, not at the minor league complex.

• Will Pettitte be activated the day he’s eligible? “We have it mapped or semi-mapped out,” Girardi said. “I don’t know if it will be the first day, but it will be shortly after that.”

• The Yankees are giving CC Sabathia an extra day off this week. He’ll pitch Sunday, not Saturday. The Yankees will go with a rotation of Phelps/Nuno/Sabathia in Tampa. “It’s just the way we did it because we’re in another long stretch here,” Girardi said. “After this day off, it’s 17 days in a row, so that’s how we decided to do it.”

• Joba Chamberlain threw 13 pitches in an extended spring training inning. “Felt good,” Girardi said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”

• Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis each got six at-bats in a simulated game today. Is Youkilis getting close to playing in a real game? “I can’t tell you,” Girardi said. “I think you have to give him a few days in a row before you evaluate to make sure that his back is healed and it doesn’t come back. The last two days have been pretty good, so he’s getting closer.”

• Eduardo Nunez took batting practice today. He had been doing only tee and toss.

• Today, Brett Gardner gets a turn on the bench. “Ich has played pretty well against (Orioles starter Jason) Hammel, has good numbers against Hammel,” Girardi said. “I’m going to move it around a little bit, let it iron itself out. This way Gardy gets a couple days.”

• Another start for Hiroki Kuroda. Amazing to think that a little more than a year ago there were questions about whether he could handle the transition from the NL West to the AL East. “People are always going to have that question whenever you go from one league to the other, especially there’s always talk about the NL to the AL,” Girardi said. “If you can pitch, you can pitch; I don’t care where you’re pitching. If you have the ability to command three or four different pitches, you’re going to be successful.”

Associated Press photos