As expected, Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the team announced. The surgery will be performed on Tuesday by Dr. James Andrews, who looked over the results yesterday of the MRI taken on Sunday.
The typical rehab of Tommy John is about 12-18 months, meaning that Nova won’t be back on the mound for the Yankees until the middle of next season.
Nova was originally placed on the 15-day by the Yankees on Sunday after an MRI revealed the partially torn UCL, but just moved him over to the 60-day before tonight’s game with the surgery upcoming.
This is a tough blow for the Yankees’ rotation after Nova entered the season as the No. 4 starter, on paper, in the Yankees’ rotation behind CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka. They were really hoping that Nova would be able to carry the momentum of his second half performance last season into 2014, to help their rotation be one of the best in the game.
Nova, however, got off to a terrible start this season, and after holding the Boston Red Sox to two runs in 7-plus innings Sunday night, he was shelled for eight runs on eight homerun — four homeruns — before leaving in the middle of the 5th inning in Saturday night’s 16-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays because of the injury.
Manager Joe Girardi announced on Tuesday that lefty Vidal Nuno, who made a spot-start for the Bombers on Sunday in Tampa, will be the team’s fifth starter moving forward, taking over for Nova in the rotation.
Nuno pitched five shutout innings in the Yankees’ 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, holding Tampa to just three hits and two walks, while striking out six on 65 pitches.
Nuno isn’t a hard-thrower — according to BrooksBaseball.net, he averaged his fastball at 90 mph, and topped out at 91.8 — but he mixes his pitcher very well and keeps hitters off balance.
Other moves: While announcing that Nova would be moving to the 60-day DL, the Yankees also announced before tonight’s game against the Boston Red Sox that pitchers Bruce Billings and Shane Greene have been called up from Triple-A Scranton to provide some fresh arms in the bullpen after four relievers were needed Wednesday night.
To make room for those two, Dean Anna and Preston Claiborne, who tossed two innings last night, were optioned down to Triple-A Scranton.
Anna was pretty much Derek Jeter’s backup at shortstop, so I would have to believe that he’ll be back up soon. He can’t be called back up, however, until after 10 days, unless an injury occurs, in which case the Yankees could bring him back.