Yankees send Ivan Nova to Triple-A to make room for Phil Hughes

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A four-game winning streak wasn’t enough to save Ivan Nova’s roster spot.

In spite of the rookie right-hander’s recent success, he was shipped back to Triple-A on Sunday, with reliever Lance Pendleton coming up to claim his spot.  Phil Hughes is expected to come off the DL on Wednesday to take over in the rotation.

Nova was coming off a win over the Mets on Friday in which he allowed one run in five innings.  The Yankees had won each of his last five starts, with the 24-year-old going 4-0 with a 3.41 ERA in the process.  For the season, Nova was 8-4 with a 4.12 ERA.

Still, unless the Yankees decided to suddenly reverse course and send Hughes to the pen, either Nova or Freddy Garcia had to go.  Were the Yankees forced to pick one of the two for the rest of the season, they probably would have chosen Nova.  But Garcia has pitched plenty well enough to stick around, having amassed a 3.28 ERA in 85 innings, and unlike Nova, he wasn’t going to be a phone call away in Triple-A if he had been jettisoned.

Nationals acquire Kelvin Herrera from Royals

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Update (8:06 PM ET): The Royals will receive minor leaguers Blake Perkins, Kelvin Gutiérrez, and Yohanse Morel from the Nationals, per Heyman. The trade is official as the Nationals and Royals have announced the deal.

Perkins, 21, is the Nationals’ No. 11 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. The outfielder was selected by the Nationals in the second round of the 2015 draft. This season, with High-A Potomac, Perkins hit .234/.344/.290 in 305 plate appearances.

Gutiérrez, 23, is rated by MLB Pipeline as the Nats’ No. 10 prospect. The club signed him as an international free agent in April 2013. With Double-A Harrisburg this season, the third baseman hit .274/.321/.391 in 249 trips to the plate.

Morel, 17, is not in the Nats’ Top-30 as the club signed him last July as an international free agent. In one start in the Dominican Summer League, Morel allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts across 3 1/3 innings.

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Nationals are close to acquiring reliever Kelvin Herrera from the Royals. Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post says three minor leaguers are going from the Nats to the Royals.

Herrera, 28, has been outstanding for the last-place Royals. He owns a 1.05 ERA with 14 saves and a 22/2 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. Herrera is a free agent after the season, so this is effectively a rental for the Nationals, who are three games behind the Braves for first place in the NL East.

Herrera will help bolster the Nats’ bullpen behind closer Sean Doolittle, who has 17 saves and a 1.52 ERA. It’s not known yet how the Nationals will handle the closer’s role with Herrera in the mix. One would imagine Herrera slides into the set-up role behind Doolittle.