Yankees say Ivan Nova left early due to tight forearm

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Forget all that “Girardi is panicking” talk.

According to beat writer Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger, the Yankees announced in the press box during the top of the sixth that Game 5 starter Ivan Nova was pulled after just two innings due to “right forearm tightness.” Not because manager Joe Girardi was displeased with the early results.

Nova allowed back-to-back homers to Detroit’s Don Kelly and Delmon Young in the top of the first inning and a leadoff double to Magglio Ordonez in the second. But he did appear to be settling in and his stuff was far from out of control. In fact, the 24-year-old right-hander threw 24 of his 31 total deliveries for strikes. Phil Hughes came on in relief, then entered Boone Logan. Now it’s CC Sabathia.

The Yankees trail the Tigers 3-0 as this series-deciding Game 5 heads to the bottom of the sixth.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉