Results tagged ‘ Ivan Nova ’

Spring Game 23: Yankees at Braves

disney post card frontHello from Walt Disney World’s ‘Wide World of Sports’ complex, where the Yankees are visiting the Atlanta Braves this afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET. There is no Yankees radio or TV coverage of today’s game; the Braves have a radio broadcast.

The Yankees are playing with a DH this afternoon; the Braves are not. Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (11-9-2)
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B
Adonis Garcia LF
Jose Gil 1B

Ivan Nova RHP

Also scheduled to pitch: Danny Burawa, Dellin Betances, Cesar Cabral and Shane Greene.

BRAVES (8-12-3)
Jason Heyward RF
B.J. Upton CF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Evan Gattis C
Justin Upton LF
Chris Johnson 3B
Dan Uggla 2B
Andrelton Simmons SS
David Hale RHP

News and notes from Joe Girardi’s morning interview session in Tampa:

— Girardi said that he has seen an improvement in maturity this spring from Ivan Nova, who makes his fifth start of the spring today.

“I’ve seen a guy that’s come into spring training that, it seems like he realizes how good he can be,” Girardi said. “And I think that’s important. I think for all young players, there’s that doubt always a little bit: can I do this on a consistent basis? Can I do it start after start, or game after game if you’re a position player? Do I need to look over my starter? Is there someone always doubting what I can do? I think he’s realized that, you know what, I can be pretty good. He came back last year and was really good, and I think that was kind of the eye-opener for him.”

— Girardi has been very encouraged by Mark Teixeira‘s health.

“What I’ve been most pleased is, you look at this whole spring training and there’s never been a point where he was scheduled to work that he had to say, ‘I could use a day,'” Girardi said. “That’s really encouraging to me. Everything that he’s been scheduled to do, he has done.”

He added that there is no longer any apprehension with Teixeira or Derek Jeter‘s health.

“I think they pretty much put it to rest,” Girardi said. “Obviously you worry about your guys when they’re playing out there every day, but I haven’t seen anything to lead me to believe that they’re not going to be healthy this season.”

Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno aren’t likely to start again this spring, unless it comes in a Minor League game. They’re running out of innings to go around, and players like CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka need to take those starts. Nuno will relieve David Phelps tomorrow in Fort Myers, and Warren relieves Sabathia on Friday against the Pirates.

– There’s no decision yet on the fifth starter, but Girardi has been encouraged by the strong spring from this group.

“I have confidence in our guys. I believe in what they’re capable of doing,” Girardi said. “I’ve seen it. I’ve seen them do it on a pretty consistent basis. I believe that our rotation can be pretty good, I do. I think it can be really good. Obviously you have to avoid injuries. That always helps. With this competition for the fifth spot, these other guys have shown that, if we do have something to awry, that they can step in and do a pretty good job. I feel that we have a good rotation, we will have a good rotation, and we have depth.”

Girardi volunteered the names of Danny Burawa and Shane Greene, saying that they have “shown that they’re getting pretty close and they’re knocking on the door.”

– Girardi said they’ll “continue to discuss” using Alfonso Soriano as a backup first baseman, but they’re leaning more toward Kelly Johnson, who should get another start at first base this weekend.

“Kelly’s going to play a lot,” Girardi said. “I like what I’ve seen from him, and he’s going to play a lot.”

– Girardi said no decision has been made for a backup infielder at second and third bases. He carefully listed his candidates alphabetically so no one could read into it: Dean Anna, Eduardo Nunez, Scott Sizemore, Yangervis Solarte and Zelous Wheeler. Sizemore, by the way, has been out with a quad problem. Girardi said he could play by the end of the week. What you can read into that is that Nunez is, by no means, a lock to make this team.

Brendan Ryan is still on track to play tomorrow against the Red Sox in Fort Myers. He has been out since the first week of March with a lower back/oblique issue.

Yanks trust Nova to kick off pivotal Sox series

Ivan NovaIt’s the beginning of an 11-game obstacle course that could very well determine if the Yankees have a chance at the postseason or not. Is this the most important stretch of the season? Sure feels like it.

Here are the early notes as the Yankees (75-64) and Red Sox (84-57) prepare to meet here at Yankee Stadium, with right-handers Ivan Nova and Jake Peavy matching up for the 7:05 p.m. ET start:

Who would the Yankees rather have on the mound than Nova, the reigning American League Pitcher of the Month? Nova went undefeated in six August starts, going 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA, and now he’ll look to continue that success into September.

“When you’re throwing the baseball like he is, you probably should feel some confidence out there,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s getting his strikeouts when he needs them, he’s getting a lot of ground ball outs, and that’s important in a park like this when you’re playing a team like this.”

Asked to expand on what Nova is doing differently than he was last season, Girardi responded:

“He learned to command his fastball down in the zone. Not worrying so much about hitting corners, but just having it down in the zone with movement. I think that has been really, really important to him. I also think the consistency of his curveball came back when he started throwing it a lot more, and he’s thrown his changeup a little bit as well. Maybe not 20 percent of the time or 30 percent of the time, but he has thrown it and gotten strikes, and it’s just another look when you’re going through a lineup the second, third or fourth time.”

The Yankees have been saying for days that they do not expect there to be any carryover from the last time these two clubs met, when right-hander Ryan Dempster earned a five-game suspension by intentionally throwing at Alex Rodriguez.

Those Sunday night events fired up the Yankees, who have gone 12-5 since the drilling. Yet for those expecting Nova to throw at David Ortiz or something along those lines, there might be disappointment. These games are so important to the Yankees that winning will likely be the main priority.

“No. We’re not looking to [retaliate],” Robinson Cano said. “We’re just going to go out there [tonight], play the game the right way that we have always been, and what’s in the past we’re going to keep in the past.”

OK. OK. What else would you have expected him to say? Stay tuned, but it doesn’t sound like Major League Baseball or the umpires plan on getting involved pre-game.

A few injury updates to pass along: Zoilo Almonte (ankle) is playing seven innings tonight for Double-A Trenton in their playoff game and is the most likely player to rejoin the big league club this month. Travis Hafner has done one simulated game, while Kevin Youkilis is only taking dry swings and is “the least probable” of the aforementioned three players to return in 2013.

Also, David Phelps and Michael Pineda are up to the bullpen stage, but it doesn’t sound like either one is coming back this year. Phelps might be back as a reliever in late September but that’s sounding more like a long shot, and the Yankees have been pretty mum on Pineda’s progress.

One last thought from Girardi:

“The big thing is you have to continue to play well. And as you look at it, we have a chance to control our own destiny, because we’re really three behind them in the loss column, and we have three games with. We have to play well. That’s the bottom line. So I don’t think you can get too caught up in what they’re doing, because there are other teams that are around us as well.”

My Beat The Streak pick tonight: Robinson Cano, who gets the honors for a second straight night after he went 3-for-4 against the White Sox last night. Cano is 3-for-7 vs. Peavy. My streak is at five, halfway to my season-high of 10.

Thursday’s camp notes: Youk “always a Red Sock”

Kevin Youkilis, David OrtizIt’s probably not the best way to endear yourself to a new fan base, but hey, let’s at least give Kevin Youkilis some points for honesty.

The new Yankee and former Red Sox third baseman briefly stopped by George M. Steinbrenner this afternoon to check out his locker assignment and drop off a few items, spotting his No. 36 jersey hanging alongside a few pairs of pinstriped pants.

This is the new reality for Youkilis, who is clean-shaven to satisfy team regulations and sounded like a Yankee when he said that he’s just here to “go out there every day and play hard and try to win a World Series.”

Oh, but nothing in the fine print of his one-year, $12 million deal with the Yankees mandated that he must put his Red Sox history through the shredder, and so Youkilis made it clear that part of him will always belong in Boston.

“To negate all the years I played for the Boston Red Sox and all the tradition, you look at all the stuff I have piled up at my house and to say I’d just throw it out the window — it’s not true,” Youkilis said. “I’ll always be a Red Sock.”

That quote won’t win Youkilis many friends among a fan base that, judging by early Internet reaction, seems to be unconvinced about his addition. But here’s what might win them over: if Youkilis is healthy and productive for New York, the same blue-collar qualities that made Youkilis such a frustrating opponent over the years are exactly what Yankees fans have been asking for.

Think about it — how many times have we heard the talk-radio rants that the Yankees need more players with Paul O’Neill’s brand of intensity, the unbridled fury it takes to assault a bat rack or water cooler without a second thought about the millions watching at home? Youkilis can be that guy. In other words…

“I’ll never be Alex Rodriguez,” Youkilis said. “I mean, Alex Rodriguez is one of the best hitters of all-time. I’m not going to be that same guy. But I can be a good Major League player who can help the team win, and that’s all you’ve got to do.”

Here’s some more of Thursday’s notes and quotes from Tampa:

  • Newly acquired right-hander Shawn Kelley is expected to join the team shortly after being traded by the Mariners on Wednesday evening. Kelley is a power arm with a plus slider and figures to compete with Cody Eppley for a bullpen role. He has a Minor League option remaining, so he could also start the year at Triple-A.
  • Don’t leave the lights on for Alex Rodriguez here in Tampa; Brian Cashman said that A-Rod will not join the Yankees at any time this spring. He’s supposed to arrive in New York tomorrow from Miami to continue his rehab, so it sounds like the earliest anyone might see him around the ballpark is April 1 against the Red Sox.
  • As we discussed earlier on the blog, Michael Pineda has progressed to throwing full mound sessions and the Yankees are optimistic that he could be helping at the big league level in late May or June. A lot can happen between now and then, and setbacks are an expected part of the process, but he’s on track so far. Pineda will start throwing to hitters in March, but isn’t expected to pitch in any Spring Training games.
  • Dellin Betances took a step backward last season, but the Yankees haven’t given up hope on the hulking right-hander, hoping that a good showing in the Arizona Fall League can right his ship. Cashman said that the power, physicality and stuff are all there for Betances. One glaring problem has been fastball command, which is why Betances found himself demoted to Double-A Trenton last year.
  • Ivan Nova said he doesn’t know why his strikeout rate jumped to 8.1 per nine innings last season after he posted 5.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 2011. He said he was just trying to pitch his game, not worrying about strikeouts. The number that still bothered Nova was his 5.02 ERA; the Yankees have scored him plenty of runs, but that’s too many to ask.
  • Funny note from Girardi, who was recounting the uncomfortable moment he had to tell Nova that they were leaving him off the playoff rosters last year: “It’s not like he flipped my desk over or I felt threatened, but I could see the disappointment. I have a pretty big desk.”

Ivan Nova placed on DL with rotator cuff inflammation

Here is the official word from the Yankees:

RHP Ivan Nova was seen today in New York City by Dr. Christopher Ahmad and underwent an MRI at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

He has been diagnosed with inflammation in his right rotator cuff, and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. Treatment will consist of medicine and rest. He will not play catch for five days.

Ivan Nova: “I had to step up”

Last week in Anaheim, Ivan Nova stood in front of an Angel Stadium locker and slammed his performance against the Angels, saying that his outing – despite the Yankees’ 6-5 win – was unacceptable and that he had to pitch better.

This one qualified as an improvement. Nova limited the Rays to four hits over eight-plus innings, allowing just a ninth-inning run as New York posted a 4-1 victory. Nova was certainly in better spirits this time around.

“I had to step up. I had to do my job. I had to be better. Especially when everybody is pitching good, I don’t want to be the guy [left] behind. I want to be the guy pitching good, helping this team win games. That’s what we’re here for. I’m glad they’re pitching good and I’m glad I pitched good today. Hopefully I can continue it in the next start and the rest of the season.”

Nova said he had a few pep talks from teammates after a rough recent stretch that had seen him allow five earned runs or more in five of seven starts.

“After the game in Anaheim I had a nice conversation with Robby Cano. He was telling me I had to start pitching good. I had to be ready. I had to prepare myself more if I need it. Andy [Pettitte], even when he came out of the game yesterday, he told me, ‘Your turn tomorrow.’ He was waiting for me to pitch today, even though he pitched. He came out and the first thing he said was, ‘Your turn tomorrow.’ That motivates you when guys like that want you to do good.”

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild likes what he is seeing out of the Yankees’ starters, who seem to be pushing each other. New York’s starting five are 4-0 with a 1.64 ERA through the last turn of the rotation dating back to June 1, and healthy competition isn’t a bad thing to Rothschild.

“I think there’s something to that. I think it helps that one guy leads the way and the other guy wants to do better than him. It changes the thought process of a pitcher a little bit, and takes the emphasis off of some things that they probably shouldn’t be thinking about to put it in a more positive way.”

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