Ivan Nova opts for elbow surgery

Updated: April 25, 2014, 11:53 AM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

BOSTON -- New York Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova has opted to have Tommy John surgery to repair the partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. The team announced the surgery will be performed by Dr. James Andrews, a specialist in the procedure, on Tuesday in Birmingham.

"I think it's the right decision," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I haven't really seen anyone rehab a partially torn ligament and have success. It seems what it does is just delay the inevitable of what's going to happen. Then instead of maybe missing a year and a little bit of time, you miss a couple of years."

Tommy John surgery generally involves a 12-to-18 month recovery period. Nova suffered the injury in the fifth inning of Saturday's loss against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg. He underwent an MRI that night that revealed the tear, and had another MRI and an examination by Yankees team physician Christopher Ahmad that confirmed the diagnosis.

On Wednesday, the Yankees announced Nova would have his MRI results sent to Andrews for further evaluation and a second opinion, but according to Girardi, his decision had essentially already been made.

"I spoke to him (Wednesday), and I think it's the way he was leaning," Girardi said. "Obviously it's difficult to go through, but a lot of times they come back stronger."

Nova was 2-2 with an 8.27 ERA in four starts this season. Now in his fifth major league season, all with the Yankees, he is 40-22 with a 4.20 ERA. He was transferred Thursday from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.

In other moves Thursday, the Yankees promoted right-hand pitchers Bruce Billings and Shane Greene from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned infielder Dean Anna and right-hand pitcher Preston Claiborne to the Triple-A team.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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