First Pitch: Nova pitching for his job?

Ivan Nova is tired of being asked if he's pitching for his job. But the only one who can change the question is him. Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports

Ivan Nova had a little smile, but he seemed like maybe he had heard the question one too many times. Does he think he is pitching for his job Tuesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks?

"The same question, everybody is asking me the same question," Nova said. "Every day."

Well, with David Phelps looking pretty good and Nova's first start a stinker, Nova has to show he belongs in the rotation. Phelps has yet to receive a start, but his ERA in three relief spots is 3.38.

In Nova's only start in Detroit, he lasted just 4 2/3 innings and seemed lucky to only give up four runs.

"It is just one start," Nova said. "It wasn't good, but I just have to focus on my next start."

Nova can't explain what has happened to him since the middle of 2012. By the end of 2011, he was the Yankees' No. 2 starter. He then kept winning in the first half of 2012, despite getting hit hard in spots. By the end of the year, he wasn't pitching well or winning and he lost his job to Phelps. A year after being the Yankees' No. 2 playoff starter, he was off the postseason roster.

"I'm a baseball player," Nova said. "Normally, a baseball player has to do that. It was a bad year. Really, a bad second half, I would say."

Nova is right in that it is only his second start, but if he doesn't pitch well it could be his last for a while.

UP NOW: Derek Jeter seems a long way from coming back. I look at what has gone right and what has gone wrong so far.

ON DECK: I will be out at the ballpark for the Yanks and Diamondbacks. The clubhouse opens at 3:20 p.m.

The pitching matchups are Nova (0-1, 7.71) vs. Brandon McCarthy (0-1, 7.77) on Tuesday; Wednesday, CC Sabathia (2-1, 2.25) vs. Wade Miley (2-0, 2.13); Thursday, Phil Hughes (0-2, 10.29) vs. Patrick Corbin (2-0, 1.50).

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Do you believe in Nova?