Manager Joe Girardi clearly was dissatisfied by Ivan Nova’s lack of aggression in Saturday night’s no-decision, and the right-hander might have a loose grip on his rotation spot. Girardi said Nova would take his next turn Friday at Anaheim, though Nova should fix the wildness he displayed in his 3 2/3-inning start at Safeco Field.
“He has the ability to do it. He’s just not doing it,” Girardi said, noting that Nova was a predictable two-pitch pitcher Saturday without any command of his curveball. “At times he looks very, very good for us. And then at times he’s had trouble throwing strikes.” In his past four starts, Nova is 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA.
During those 18 2/3 innings, he’s yielded 30 hits and eight walks. Is that a sign of regression? “I guess we’ll have a better idea after his next start,” Girardi said. Meanwhile, ex-Cubs veteran right-hander Carlos Silva is starting at Class AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre and soon might be an option.
Nova hasn’t put up bad numbers for a rookie, he has a 4.67 ERA over 54 innings this season, but the Yankees do want to see positive signs if they are going to stick with a rookie in the rotation all season. He has not shown those signs lately as he has a 5.79 ERA over his last four starts and batters are hitting a robust .934 OPS against him.
Since they have Silva in the minor leagues, who needs to be brought up to the majors by the middle of June or he will opt-out of his contract, Nova has a little time to show improvement. If he doesn’t, they will likely give Silva a chance.
Hector Noesi, who made his major league debut this month, is also another option. In three appearances in the majors he has done a good job adapting quickly putting up a 0.96 ERA over 9.1 innings. Not a large sample size, but perhaps enough for Nova to lose his job to him.