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Yankees’ Nova Makes His Case With 6 No-Hit Innings

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova looks skyward after pitching six scoreless, no-hit innings against the Baltimore Orioles in their spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday, March 16, 2011. (AP Photo)

New York Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova looks skyward after pitching six scoreless, no-hit innings against the Baltimore Orioles in their spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday, March 16, 2011. (AP Photo)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Ivan Nova even impressed himself.

Nova threw six no-hit innings, Yankees manager Joe Girardi unveiled what could be his opening-day lineup and New York beat the Baltimore Orioles 10-0 on Wednesday night.

“I showed myself how good I am,” Nova said.

Nova, competing with Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon and Sergio Mitre for one of two open spots in the Yankees’ rotation behind CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett, struck out four. He threw 41 of 59 pitches for strikes.

“It’s the best pitching performance we’ve had in spring training,” Girardi said.

Mark Teixeira had an RBI double, the Yankees’ third straight hit to start the first off Jim Johnson. After Jorge Posada had a fourth-inning run-scoring single, Alex Rodriguez made it 4-0 on a two-run homer in the sixth.

“It’s nice to be able to do that,” Girardi said of having all his starting position players play together for the first time.

Vladimir Guerrero got the Orioles’ only hit, a two-out double in the seventh off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who then retired Luke Scott to complete his second scoreless inning this spring.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter had encouraging news about several injured players. He didn’t rule out second baseman Brian Roberts (back), first baseman Derrek Lee (right wrist) and reliever Koji Uehara (elbow soreness) returning as soon as this weekend.

“I’ve got all three, kind of, slated some time this weekend if things stay on schedule,” Showalter said.

Roberts hit off a tee and Uehara threw off a bullpen mound on Wednesday. Lee had a soft toss session and could take live batting practice Thursday.

Nova hit leadoff hitter Robert Andino with a pitch in the first. The only other baserunner he allowed came when Adam Jones reached during the fourth on an error by Rodriguez, who misplayed the grounder at third.

“I’ve got to keep pitching my game,” Nova said. “Keep focused.”

Yankees captain Derek Jeter hit in his usual leadoff spot, with Teixeira, Rodriguez and Robinson Cano batting in their customary 3-4-5 positions.

Nick Swisher batted second, with Posada, Curtis Granderson, Russell Martin and Brett Gardner rounding out the lineup

Girardi plans to tinker with the lineup leading up to the regular-season opener against Detroit on March 31.

“Most of them are pretty set, they are,” Girardi said. “Just some different ideas that we’ve talked about. We just might do some different things as they start to play together a little bit, just to see how it looks.”

Gardner will likely get some at-bats as a leadoff hitter before the Yankees break camp.

Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie didn’t make the trip, and instead pitched in a minor league game, where he allowed two earned runs and six hits over five innings against Boston minor leaguers.

“Everything went well,” Showalter said.

Baltimore used a group of relievers in Wednesday night’s game, including Johnson, who started and gave up one run and three hits in one inning.

Swisher drove in a pair with a single during the Yankees’ five-run seventh.

Notes: Teixeira got hit on the left thumb and right knuckle by a pitch in the sixth. “I’m all right,” he said. … Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long feels Cano has the potential to hit 40 homers this season. Cano, on the other hand, was not so sure, saying he’s not a home-run hitter. … Orioles LHP Zach Britton is scheduled to pitch in a Triple-A game on Thursday. RHP Chris Tillman will start Thursday’s game against Pittsburgh. … New York RHP Rafael Soriano threw a 30-pitch bullpen session instead of pitching in the game. … The Yankees optioned RHP Andrew Brackman, INFs Brandon Laird and Kevin Russo and OF Melky Mesa to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. RHP Ryan Pope and LHP Steve Garrison were optioned to Double-A Trenton.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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