ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, an injury that often requires Tommy John surgery.

Nova left Saturday night’s game against Tampa Bay in the fifth inning. An MRI after the game revealed the injury and he was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

“It’s hard. I don’t even know what to tell you guys,” he said. “I’m so sad right now that I’m not going to be pitching. It hurts. But God is real big, and I know that he’s not going to forget me. I have to keep working hard and try to get back as soon as possible.”

Nova will be further examined Monday in New York by Yankees team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad. He had no discomfort in the elbow until his 82nd and final pitch Saturday when he felt a pop.

“Having a bad start makes me feel terrible, because I want to pitch good. But having an injury like the one I have now, that’s devastating,” said Nova, who started the year 2-2 with a 8.27 ERA. “Not because of me, but because of my family and friends. It hurts. I know a lot of people feel bad because of this. We have to keep going. We have to keep going forward.”

If Nova needs elbow-ligament replacement surgery he could be sidelined more than a year.

“Usually when you have that (tear), it eventually leads to that,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno, started and threw five shutout innings Sunday against Tampa Bay, are in the mix to replace Nova. Alfredo Aceves is starting in the minors for the Yankees at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

“It’s really unfortunate,” Girardi said of Nova. “It’s a guy that obviously we were counting on pretty heavily this year.”

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