Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nova's Rotation Spot Already On Shaky Ground

(Forever alone.  Courtesy of the AP)

I have to admit, I was a little surprised to read that the Yankees are planning on skipping Ivan Nova in the rotation tonight after last night's rain-out in order to keep Phil Hughes and the rest of the rotation on schedule.  On the surface it makes sense to want to keep everybody else on their routine or as close to it as possible, but shouldn't that logic apply to Nova as well?  And if you really stop and think about it, wouldn't an extra day or two of rest be a good thing for a "still kinda recovering from elbow surgery" CC Sabathia and older pitchers like Kuroda and Pettitte?

To me, this decision to skip Nova and keep everyone else on schedule at his expense is a sign that the coaching staff is not as confident in Nova as they are the rest of the group right now.  After a strong start to his spring camp, Nova's final two starts were similar to many of his 2012 outings were he got knocked around.  His first regular season start wasn't much better, so based on a sample size of over a full season's worth of starts it would make sense for Nova to be on a short leash.

Still, the quick-trigger timing of this skip over is puzzling.  It would be one thing if this were September and the Yankees wanted to keep their best pitchers lined up to face teams they were competing against for a playoff spot.  That's hardly the case eight games into the season, which leads me to believe Nova is already in danger of losing his spot in the rotation.  He needs to come up with a much better performance in his next start, whenever that may be, to establish some control over that spot.

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