Although his numbers were bad, Ivan Nova said he never felt any pain or discomfort until that final pitch last night. On that pitch, he felt “kind of a little pop” and began to shake his arm. He asked to stay in the game because he still believed he was perfectly fine.
Ultimately pulled from the game and sent for an MRI, the Yankees have now announced that Nova has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. Nova will be evaluated further in New York on Monday, but obviously the initial thought is that Nova could be headed toward Tommy John surgery. No operation is set, though.
“I don’t even know what to tell you guys,” Nova said. “I’m so sad right now that I’m not going to be pitching. It hurts, but God is real big, and I know that he’s not going to forget me. I have to keep working hard and try to get back as soon as possible.”
Although the Yankees had already announced the nature of the injury, Nova said this morning that he had not yet talked to the Yankees coaching staff or medical staff about the MRI results, so he wasn’t sure about the severity. In fact, when told the Yankees announced a partial tear — Nova said he had not been told even that much — Nova seemed oddly encouraged.
“It’s not (torn) all the way?” Nova said. “So that’s not too bad, I guess. I know it’s not good, but if it’s not all the way, it’s not too bad. That’s what I think.”
That might be the optimistic way of looking at it, but a partially torn UCL actually is pretty bad news. There would seem to be some chance that Nova could rehab his way back from the injury, but after a series of Tommy John surgeries throughout baseball already this season, the immediate thought seems to be that Nova could be heading for the same fate.
“I don’t know how bad the strain is, the strain of the ligament is,” Joe Girardi said. “But usually, when you have that, eventually it leads to (surgery).”
· Girardi said he’s still not sure who will take Nova’s place in the rotation, but he did say that Vidal Nuno could show something today to put himself into consideration. Girardi didn’t rule out the idea of getting David Phelps stretched out again, and he didn’t dismiss questions about calling up a guy like Alfredo Aceves. Basically, more pitching staff changes could be coming in the next couple of days.
· For now, the Yankees made two short-term pitching moves just to get them through tonight’s game. Preston Claiborne and Bryan Mitchell have been called up. Claiborne has been pitching in relief in Triple-A, and Mitchell has been a Double-A starter. Mitchell is basically here to be an emergency mopup man. Girardi said Mitchell is not a candidate for the rotation opening.
· To make room on the roster for Claiborne and Mitchell, Nova was put on the 15-day disabled list and Matt Daley was designated for assignment. Daley said he actually has an option remaining, but he believes he’s in some sort of weird contract situation — based on service time and such — that the Yankees actually had to DFA him to send him to Triple-A. Weird stuff like that happens from time to time. Daley said he expects to end up staying with the Yankees and accepting an assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. That’s what he’s hoping for, he said.
· Mark Teixeira has also been activated from the disabled list, and Scott Sizemore has been optioned to Triple-A. “We consider Dean Anna a shortstop more than the other two (Sizemore or Yangervis Solarte) and that’s why we stayed with the rotation that we have,” Girardi said. “… (Sizemore) did everything right. Obviously he has put himself back on the map.”
· Expectation for Teixeira: “Play every day and be productive,” Girardi said.
· Girardi said he’s not sure how he will handle Yangervis Solarte’s playing time now that Teixeira is activated, but he expects Solarte, Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts to all get fairly regular playing time.
Associated Press photos