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How do you spell Nova in '12? N-o-e-s-i?

Could Hector Noesi be the 2012 version of Ivan Nova? If you have been following Brian Cashman's comments during the offseason, it certainly seems that is what he thinks.

On Monday afternoon, I went a little deeper into the subject with the Yankees GM. Among the highlights of our talk, Cashman said of the soon-to-be-25-year-old Noesi were:

* "He is a guy we believe in and we think he has a chance to be a really good starter for a long time."

* “If you asked me this last winter, you would have said [Phil] Hughes and [A.J] Burnett were cemented and obviously Burnett did not have as great a year and Hughes got hurt. Nova ended up sliding in and winning 16 games. [Noesi] is definitely major-league capable of starting. There is no doubt in our mind about it. How it shakes out, I can’t predict.”

Cashman said that Noesi has touched 97 on the gun in Winter Ball. In Venezuela, Noesi has a 2.31 ERA in a little more than 23 innings as the Yankees tried to extend so he is ready for a full major league season.

Last year, Noesi finished 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA. He started two games and pitched a total of 56 1/3 innings. Nova in 2010 was 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA. He started seven games, but pitched just 42 innings. As you know in 2011, Nova finished 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA.

Right now, CC Sabathia, Nova, Freddy Garcia, Hughes and Burnett are ahead of Noesi on the depth chart, but Cashman is warning that Noesi could be the new guy on the block.

“He is going to compete with all those guys and with the guys who currently, allegedly have spots," Cashman said.

Question of the Day: Do you believe in Noesi?