In the midst of the race for that coveted second wildcard spot, a news item popped up that may have major impact for the Yankees’ future. Ivan Nova, recovering from Tommy John surgery, has begun to throw the ball. Just over 4 months from the day of the surgery, he is throwing 25-pitch bullpen sessions of light toss, which puts him right on schedule.
While it may not matter for this year, Nova will play a big part in the Yankees plan for 2015 and beyond. At age 27, he still has a lot of baseball left in his arm. However, by his own admission, there was the fear that it was over. Who wouldn’t be? There are no guarantees with ligament reconstruction, even though it may seem routine at this point. Many pitchers are never the same. Nevertheless, we are going to stick to positive thoughts here.
What the Yankees need is for Nova to be the same as he was in 2013, post-May. After his first six starts, in which he struggled mightily, he finished his last 16 starts with a 7-5 record. During that span, his ERA was 2.70, and opponents hit .242 against him. Twelve of those 16 starts were quality starts, and he only allowed eight home runs.
Bottom line, Ivan Nova is a key part of the future of the Yankees. The fact that he is on track for recovery in mid-2015 is good news for the team. For now, the specifics of the plan are unclear, but it is expected that he’ll continue to soft toss and ultimately go to Tampa for a rehab program. The offseason will be filled with plans on how to shore up what has been a beaten up starting rotation. Having someone with Nova’s capabilities is going to be a nice thing to have.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
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