Nova: Staff must step up with Colon out

With Bartolo Colon headed to the disabled list, Yankees starter Ivan Nova recognizes that he and the rest of the Yankees pitching staff are going to have to pick up the slack.

“We gotta cover the spot one way or another. We gotta win games. He’s a tremendous pitcher and we’re going to need him,” Nova said. “Every time he goes out there, it’s six to eight innings, one time it was a complete game, and he gives up less than two to three runs. He’s pitching like a Cy Young (winner), like he was in 05. When he was in the rotation I felt like we had two aces. He really pitched good for us.”

The Yankees announced Sunday that Colon was headed to the disabled list after he strained his left hamstring during Saturday’s game against the Indians. Colon was 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA after picking up the win Saturday in the Yankees 4-0 triumph.

While Nova said the rest of the staff will have to perform in Colon’s absence, the 24-year-old said he does not feel any additional pressure. In 13 starts, Nova is 5-4 with a 4.30 ERA, the second-highest ERA of any Yankee starter, only ahead of A.J. Burnett.

“My goal is to pitch good. It don’t matter if we have four starters or five starters, I have to pitch good,” Nova said. “I don’t think because let’s say I pitch bad one or two times, that means everything is going to be on my shoulders. I keep looking forward and obviously we’re going to need a pitcher. And I have to better than I was doing. Now I have started going good again.”

Nova characterized his season as “good”, but said he knows he can do more and he has the confidence that he can better himself.

In 67 innings, Nova has yielded 74 hits and 29 walks, but is pleased with his last two outing as he’s given up four runs in 13 innings. He also said he believes he’s done well with runners in scoring position this season, as hitters are just hitting .233 against him in such situations.