Wednesday, July 10, 2013
First Pitch: Nova looking to stay hot
By Matt Ehalt
Ivan Nova would like to win back his spot in the Yankees' rotation.
NEW YORK -- The last time Ivan Nova took the mound, he had no idea whether he'd get another shot or be banished back to long relief.
With one of the best starts of his career, a compete-game two-run effort in a win over the Baltimore Orioles, Nova assured himself of another start on Wednesday.
"It changed my whole mind," Nova said on Monday about his last outing. "[Knowing] I'm pitching Wednesday, that makes me build up my comfort a little bit more. It's great to have a game like that and get back on the mound."
Since returning to the New York Yankees in late June, Nova has been pitching his best ball of the season. He's 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA in his past three outings, compared to starting the season 2-1 with a 5.16 ERA before being injured and landing in Triple-A.
"The first time I get to the Yankees, to spring training, I knew there was going to be a fight. That's what I've been doing," Nova said of battling for a spot. "There are ups and downs, I'm not perfect. When you're down you have to find a way to get back on track, and I think I'm doing that right now."
Nova struggled early this season before landing on the disabled list with inflammation in his right triceps. After coming back, he pitched just twice before the Yankees demoted him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
After being called up when the Yankees needed a fill-in for Hiroki Kuroda, Nova has made a claim to retake a spot in the rotation. Starting with a solid outing against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 23, Nova is pitching better than he has all season.
Wednesday against Kansas City, with his team lifeless offensively and losers of three straight, he can bolster his claim that he's here to stay.