Nova back in Yankees rotation; Pettitte could be next

The Yankees could have two new starting pitchers by next week. Ivan Nova has already slotted into the rotation to pitch against the Rays on Saturday, taking Freddy Garcia’s spot, and Andy Pettitte is declaring himself ready to pitch in a big league game. He could be in line to take David Phelps’ start against the Blue Jays on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.

“It was another good day,” Pettitte said. “I did everything I needed to do. I felt good. Just another good step. I don’t know what the plans are and I don’t know what they’re thinking exactly, but I felt good. I felt like my command was really good again today and my stuff; everybody said they thought my stuff was great. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully I can get back in there and try to get into the rotation. That’s what I would like to do. I just don’t know exactly what they’re going to do yet.”

Joe Girardi said that the Yankees haven’t decided on Pettitte yet, but they’re clearly entertaining the option. Pettitte threw about 55 pitches in simulated action on Wednesday at Fenway Park, covering bases and fielding bunts, and is set to see a team physician on Friday. If his left ankle is holding up, the Yankees could ask him to go out and throw 60-65 pitches in a big league start.

Pettitte said that he feels like his stuff is good and his breaking pitches have been consistent, and he’s lobbying to go out and compete.

“It’ll be the same way if they run me out there,” Pettitte said. “I’m ready. … Just let me go out there and compete. I feel like I can get through this.”

Other pregame highlights —

  • Girardi said that Phelps’ start tonight has “no bearing on the decision,” adding that Pettitte will only be activated if he’s ready. The Yankees refuse to consider Pettitte to break in as a reliever, so when he’s activated, he will start.
  • Garcia will “definitely” be available in the bullpen on Friday, Girardi said. Garcia would probably be used as a long man but Girardi said he might like Garcia’s stuff against a few hitters and use him short as long as he has time to warm up.
  • Joba Chamberlain’s last three or four outings have been more consistent and the Yankees see him as a late-inning cog now that he has found his command.
  • Girardi said that he’d prefer if the Subway Series had been changed to an odd number so a winner could be declared each year. MLB’s new schedule has the Mets and Yankees playing four games in 2013, two in each stadium.

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