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Monday, July 22, 2013
First Pitch: Super Nova

By Andrew Marchand

BOSTON -- The Yankees slotted Ivan Nova ahead of Phil Hughes in the second-half rotation, a sign that Nova has moved up the pecking order. In his last four starts, he has a 2.45 ERA.

Plus, the guy just continues to win. He is 33-16 in his career.

Nova, 26, is cementing his spot in the rotation and in the Yankees' future plans. For whatever reason, he seems to need a trip to the minors to regain his best stuff. It is what sparked him in 2011 and it seems like it is doing it again this season.

When David Phelps comes back from his strained forearm, Joe Girardi said he will consider keeping him as a starter, but if Phelps does go back into the rotation it is hard to imagine that he will do it in Nova's spot.

Nova gets the start Monday night against the Texas Rangers. In his career against the Rangers, Nova is 2-1 with 5.09 ERA. In early May 2011, he beat thee Rangers by going 7 1/3 innings and allowing one unearned run and just two hits. In his last start against the Rangers, Nova gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings.

UP NOW: The latest Alex Rodriguez news. CC Sabathia struggles. Derek Jeter could come back soon. Plus, Johnette Howard's column on it all.

ON DECK: The pitching matchups against the Rangers: Nova (4-2, 3.63) vs. Yu Darvish (8-4, 3.02); Tuesday, Phil Hughes (4-9, 4.57) vs. Alexi Ogando (4-2, 2.93); Wednesday, Andy Pettitte (7-7, 4.47) vs. Derek Holland (8-5, 3.10); Thursday, Hiroki Kuroda (9-6, 2.65) vs. TBA

QUESTION: Do you believe in Nova?