Yanks send Nova to minors to make room for Hughes

Ivan Nova is the odd man out in the New York Yankees’ crowded


Despite an 8-4 record, Nova was optioned to Triple-A

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday to open a spot for Phil Hughes, who

will come off the disabled list Wednesday.

”He’ll be back at some point,” manager Joe Girardi said about

Nova. ”He’s not the first guy who’s thrown the ball extremely well

and had to go down. He’ll continue to get better.”

New York recalled right-hander Lance Pendleton before the Subway

Series finale against the Mets, giving the staff another fresh arm

in the bullpen.

Hughes will take Nova’s turn in the rotation Wednesday night in

Cleveland. An 18-game winner last season, Hughes has been sidelined

since April 15 with right shoulder inflammation.

Unable to generate the usual zip on his fastball, Hughes opened

0-1 with a 13.94 ERA in three starts this year and was placed on

the DL with a ”dead arm.”

He’s been working his way back since and the Yankees were

impressed with his consistent velocity (92-94 mph) and sharp stuff

Wednesday in a rehab outing with Double-A Trenton.

But his progress, along with Bartolo Colon’s return from the

disabled list Saturday, gave the team six healthy starters. Other

than Hughes, an All-Star last season, all of them have pitched


”That’s what has made this decision so tough,” Girardi said

before the move was announced. ”That’s a great problem to


Nova has a 4.12 ERA in 17 games, 16 starts. The rookie

right-hander has won four straight decisions, including a 5-1

victory over the Mets on Friday night.

”We want to keep Nova going,” Girardi said after his team’s

3-2 loss in 10 innings Sunday. ”We could go to a six-man rotation.

We didn’t feel that was the best idea. You could put (Nova) in the

bullpen, and I don’t think you’d help his development. It’s a

chance for him to continue to improve. He’s pitched great. He

really has.”

In other news, streaking shortstop Eduardo Nunez was held out of

the lineup because of tightness in his right hamstring. Nunez,

filling in for injured Derek Jeter, was 7 for 8 with a homer and

three doubles in the first two games of the Subway Series at Citi


Ramiro Pena started at shortstop and committed two late errors

as the Mets rallied. Nunez said it was nothing serious and he was

available to play. Girardi said there were no tests planned.

Jeter went 1 for 2 with a walk in his first rehab game Saturday

night with Double-A Trenton and was scheduled to play there again

Sunday night, weather permitting. He is expected to rejoin the

Yankees on Monday in Cleveland.

Elected by fans to start at shortstop for the American League in

the All-Star game July 12, the 37-year-old Jeter has been on the

disabled list since June 14 with a strained right calf. He is six

hits shy of 3,000.