Ivan Nova’s return from Tommy John elbow surgery means the Yankees now have six starters and five rotation spots. In the short term they’re going to a six-man rotation, but once they resume a five-man alignment someone has to go.
And according to manager Joe Girardi it won’t be CC Sabathia despite the former Cy Young winner’s ugly 3-7 record and 5.65 ERA in 15 starts, which includes a league-high 55 earned runs and a league-high 17 home runs allowed in 88 innings.
Sabathia failed to make it out of the fifth inning Tuesday against the light-hitting Phillies, after which Girardi was asked about the 35-year-old left-hander’s job security and said:
He is a starter for us. That’s what he is and that’s what we are paying him to do and that is what he is going to do. … He’ll keep working at it. We’ll keep working at it. He’ll still compete. We need him to do his job.
Girardi’s “that’s what we are paying him to do” quote is especially key, because Sabathia is making $25 million this season with another $25 million due next year and a $25 million vesting option or $5 million buyout for 2017.
Sabathia’s track record and contract have kept him from losing a starting job already, because dating back to 2013 he’s started 55 games with a 5.07 ERA and 55 homers allowed. Instead when the Yankees bump someone from the rotation it’ll likely be Adam Warren or Nathan Eovaldi.
Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova is ready to complete his comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery and is expected to come off the disabled list to make his season debut Wednesday against the Phillies.
For now the Yankees have said they’ll use a six-man rotation, but it’s unlikely to be a long-term solution and Nathan Eovaldi and Adam Warren could be pitching for their starting jobs.
Nova is about 13 months removed from surgery and his minor-league rehab assignment was a mixed bag in terms of results, but reports had his velocity back to pre-surgery levels. He’s making $3.3 million this season via arbitration because the Yankees wanted to keep the 27-year-old with a 4.20 career ERA despite knowing he’d miss the first 2-3 months.
Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova took a big step in his comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery Monday, making his first minor-league rehab start.
Nova threw 4.2 innings at Single-A, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out three and walking zero. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that scouts in attendance were impressed with Nova, who topped out at 95 miles per hour about 13 months removed from surgery.
Nova made just four starts last season before being shut down, but the Yankees retained him via arbitration for $3.3 million this year hoping he can rejoin the rotation for the second half. He has a 4.20 ERA in 538 career innings through age 27.
UPDATE: Yankees manager Joe Girardi hinted that Whitley is dealing with a major injury. He also said that Whitley has been dealing with an elbow injury for a while, but kept it from the team and tried to pitch through it.
9:49 p.m. ET: Yankees right-hander Chase Whitley left tonight’s start against the Rays with what has been termed as a right elbow injury. Meredith Marakovits of YES Network reports that he’ll go for an MRI in Tampa tomorrow to determine the severity.
Whitley, who has been filling in for the injured Masahiro Tanaka, exited the game in the bottom of the second inning. He ended up being charged with three runs on two hits and two walks and now owns a 4.19 ERA through four starts.
Chris Capuano is nearing his return from a right quad strain, so it’s possible that Whitley would have been bumped from the rotation after this start anyway. The Yankees could have some other options soon, as Tanaka has resumed throwing bullpen sessions and Ivan Nova is close to a rehab assignment as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery.
From MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch comes word that Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova threw 20 pitches of live batting practice on Tuesday afternoon at the Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa, Florida. It was his first time facing hitters since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last April.
Nova will throw another round of live BP on Friday. He’ll eventually progress to simulated games and then he will head off on a minor league rehab assignment. The expectation is that Nova will become an option for the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early June.
Nova, 28, posted a 3.10 ERA and 116 strikeouts across 139 1/3 innings for the Yankees in 2013.
He only made four starts last year before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.