Thursday, July 30, 2015

What if Ivan Nova Can’t Make His Next Start?

Ivan Nova left his last start against the Texas Rangers after just 75 pitches with what is being described as a bout of “tired arm.” Nova and the Yankees were quick to point out that many pitchers that have had Tommy John surgery have had similar issues with tired arm in their first season removed from the ulnar collateral ligament surgery, and Nova was making just his sixth start since coming off the disabled list with the injury, and both parties expect Nova to make his next scheduled start against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. What if he can’t?

The obvious choice would be to call up Bryan Mitchell and option down whoever is holding the “revolving door” roster spot currently held by Diego Moreno. Mitchell pitched last weekend and could be held back or have his start pushed back if New York can see in time that Nova won’t be able to make the start.

The last thing the Yankees want to do after Tuesday night’s debacle is to let Chris Capuano start another game for the team. Capuano had no command of any of his pitches and he was simply throwing Little League fastballs and changeups up there to the Texas hitters. New York also can’t afford too many “bullpen games” with their bullpen already inching towards and over the “over-worked” line as it is. Obviously this is all dependent on him clearing waivers, accepting a minor league assignment and making his way back to the 40 man roster.

If Nova misses even one start this is going to severely change the Yankees starting rotation going forward. Masahiro Tanaka has not made a start on just four days rest since returning from the DL with a strained right forearm and would have to under these circumstances while others who benefit from the extra rest including Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia would have to once again change their habits, and we all know how much pitchers are creatures of habit, to accommodate Mr. Nova.

The Yankees could survive a missed start or two or even a disabled list stint for Nova if they need be but anything more than that could be disastrous for New York and their World Series aspirations. Nova says he will make his next start and so do the Yankees so I’m taking them at their word, I just hope they have a Plan B in place in case he can’t. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)