NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Ivan Nova has been dropped from the Yankees’ rotation after a pair of poor outings, and David Phelps will replace him as Tuesday night’s starter against the Boston Red Sox.
After missing 3 1/2 weeks because of inflammation in his right rotator cuff, Nova beat Tampa Bay in his return on Sept. 15. Since then he is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts, allowing 11 hits and four walks in seven innings.
“I’m sure he’s disappointed. But that’s OK, too. This is a game where you have to be productive on a consistent basis,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Monday. “We still have him in our plans, but right now he’s just struggling a little bit.”
Nova is 12-8 this season, down from 16-4 last year. He knew the move was possible given the way he was throwing.
“If I have to pitch out of the bullpen, I will do it,” he said.
Phelps is a 25-year-old rookie who learned he made the big league roster on the final day of spring training. He is 4-4 with a 3.34 ERA in 10 starts and 22 relief appearances, including a 1-1 record in starts against the Red Sox.
“It’s a big deal,” Phelps said. “I want to pitch in big games. They don’t get a whole lot bigger than down the stretch in a pennant race. … It just shows they have faith in me pitching a big game.”
He didn’t get a decision in his last start, against Toronto on Sept. 19, and has pitched out of the bullpen twice since then.
“My last starts have been good and hopefully I can just carry that over,” said Phelps.
Girardi wouldn’t say whether he would use ace CC Sabathia on three days’ rest if the Yankees wind up playing Thursday and Friday. New York, which clinched a playoff berth Sunday, has a one-game lead over Baltimore in the AL East.
If the Yankees and Orioles end up tied, Andy Pettitte would start Thursday’s tiebreaker game at Baltimore for the division title.
A Yankees’ loss in that would send them to the new one-game, wild-card playoff on Friday. Girardi would have to decide between Phil Hughes on full rest or Sabathia on short rest, with the other pitcher then in position to start the opener of a best-of-five division series if the Yankees got that far.
“Let me worry about these three before I have to make that decision,” Girardi said. “We have people lined up to make starts. So, I mean, we got to just see where we’re at.”
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