Sunday, March 3, 2013

Nova Looks Good in Weekend Sweep

The New York Yankees entered the weekend with just one win so far in the 2013 Grapefruit League. There hasn't been too much worry (this isn't your father's Steinbrenner) about though. Losses have mainly due to poor fielding, pitching, and lack of hitting by the Yankees' youngsters that have no chance of making the 25 man roster when the team departs Florida at the end of the month.

Ivan Nova is one of the youngsters that is an exception to the rule. A 16-game winner in his rookie season in 2011, Nova struggled with his command, some physical issues, and his confidence last season. The result was  a 12 win season, but an ERA over 5.00 and no spot on the post-season roster.

It didn't start out that way; Nova finished the first half 10-3, 3.92 in 17 starts. In the second half, Nova was the polar opposite and finished 2-5, 7.05 in 11 starts. After he allowed 13 home runs in 165.1 innings pitched in 2011, he allowed 28 home runs in just five more innings pitched a year later. Though his strikeouts went from 5.3 per nine innings in 2011 to 8.1 last season, it was clear that Nova was not placing the ball where he wanted to.

Nova's clean slate for 2013 began on Saturday when he  tossed a pair of scoreless innings in the Yankees 10-3 win over the Tigers. He allowed one hit and struck out one in his Spring Training debut. He threw 27 pitches.

Meredith Marakovitz spoke with Nova about his performance.

The Yankees won their second straight on Sunday, 5-1 over Boston in their first spring meeting with the Red Sox. Adam Warren was solid in three innings of work, with the only blemish a Mike Napoli home run. 23-year old Jose Ramirez followed with three scoreless innings and picked up the win.

Among the offensive highlights was a solo home run by Thomas Neal.

Injury Update

Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera both threw simulated games on Sunday. Rivera threw 21 pitches while Pettitte worked two innings and threw 34 pitches.

Lefty reliever Boone Logan has been shut down for a few days to rest his achy elbow. An MRI only showed some inflammation and Logan is hopeful that he'll be able to get back at it this week.

Starter Phil Hughes' back is feeling better and made 25 tosses from 60 feet on Sunday.

Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki was, thankfully, not injured when involved in a car accident on Saturday. Ichiro was on his way home from Saturday's game when his Land Rover was struck by another car attempting to make a left turn across traffic. The other driver was cited for failure to yield.

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