Ivan Nova has to compete for a spot in Yankees’ rotation

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Last season Ivan Nova was dumped from the Yankees’ rotation down the stretch and then left off the playoff roster, and manager Joe Girardi said yesterday that he’s not guaranteed a starting job this year.

Girardi told Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger that Nova “has to go out and prove himself” in order to claim the fifth starter spot, with David Phelps serving as his primary competition.

Nova’s secondary numbers were much better than his ugly 5.02 ERA last season, but two years ago his 3.70 ERA and 16-4 record were much better than his secondary numbers. Overall he has a 4.41 ERA in 61 career starts through age 25, while Phelps is the same age and has started just 11 games as a big leaguer.

Seems pretty safe to say Nova is the favorite to be the Yankees’ fifth starter, but it makes sense that Girardi wants him to have to work for it.