Ivan Nova’s final batter last Tuesday in Chicago was Alexi Ramirez. Until that point, he had been feeling fine but was not pitching well.
When he woke up Wednesday, he felt the soreness that had lingered from the night before, prompting the Yankees to place him on the 15-day DL with inflammation in his right rotator cuff.
Nova was 1-4 with a 7.28 ERA in his last eight starts before landing on the DL for the first time in his major league career. Though it can be speculated that his poor showing might have been caused by a shoulder injury, Nova did not seem to think that was the case.
“The problem was the last hitter that I faced,” Nova said “I was pitching [and felt fine]. It was just that last hitter.”
Nova was expected to be examined by the team’s doctor before last night’s game and if there was nothing wrong, he is expected to begin throwing again.
“I’m getting treatment,” Nova said. “I’m doing everything. Hopefully in two weeks [I’ll be back].”
Pearce rejoins Yankees, Robertson has baby boy
During their six-game road trip through Chicago and Cleveland, the Yankees lost four of six games and the team struggled against left-handed pitching.
Following a 4-1 win over the Red Sox on Aug. 19, the Yankees had a .263 average against left-handed pitchers. However, in the next six games that number dropped to .259 after the team hit .195 (16-for-82) while striking out 27 times against lefties.
General manager Brian Cashman is hoping re-acquiring Steve Pearce for his bench will help in correcting that problem. Pearce led the International League with 61 hits and a .318 average while playing for Triple-A Scranton and then batted .254 in 28 games for the Orioles and had the same average for the Astros.
In limited exposure to lefties this season, Pearce is 14-for-51 (.275) and for his career the 29-year-old is a .277 hitter with most of his at-bats coming with the Pirates, who drafted him out of South Carolina in 2005.
“He’s been a guy who has had a lot of success off left-handers,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Among the reserves, Eric Chavez is 3-for-20 against lefties, Andruw Jones is hitting .213 and Jayson Nix is hitting .247. Casey McGehee, who was acquired last month from the Pirates, is hitting .232 (7-for-30) off lefties and was 1-for-7 on the recent road trip.
Pearce has split his career between right field and first base with a little left field and third base mixed in. Besides using him in the outfield, Girardi said that first base is where he would more comfortable using him.
Room on the 40-man roster was made by designating infielder Brandon Laird for assignment. The Yankees will wait until Pearce reports to make a move on the 25-man roster but the move will not be placing reliever David Robertson on the paternity list.
Robertson’s wife Erin had a baby boy named Luke Joseph that weighed eight pounds and seven ounces. He announced the news by posting a picture on his Twitter page @DROB30.
“It’s really good timing on Erin’s part,” Girardi said.
Is a third lefty on the way?
Girardi often talks about the advantages of having two left-handed relievers in the bullpen with Clay Rapada and Boone Logan.
If there are not any snags in his rehab process, Pedro Feliciano could be the third. Feliciano’s recovery took the next step when he was promoted to Double-A Trenton yesterday. So far, Feliciano has made four appearances in the Gulf Coast League and one in the Florida State League.
Feliciano has yet to appear in a major game for the Yankees, who signed him to a two-year deal following eight years with the Mets. Feliciano led the National League with 86, 88 and 92 appearances in his final three seasons as a Met and the Yankees blamed the torn capsule and rotator cuff in his left shoulder on how he was used.
“I think [with] Pedro, it probably depends on how he’s doing,” Girardi said. “If he can help us I’m sure we’ll bring Pedro Feliciano up. [The organization] might not feel he’s quite ready yet, but that’s a decision that they’ll have to make and see because we won’t get a chance to see.”
Low-leverage for Joba
When the Yankees activated Joba Chamberlain on July 31 the hope was that nearly a month into his return, his stuff would return to the point where he could be used in important situations.
In seven appearances totaling 6 2/3 innings, Chamberlain’s stuff has not been right. That and the fact the Yankees have played five close games since his last appearance a week ago are why the next time Chamberlain appears, the run differential could be greater than two or three runs.
“We’re trying to put him in low-leverage situations to try and get him going,” Girardi said. “Until we feel like his stuff is where it needs to be and the consistency is [where] it needs to be, it’s probably not fair to put him in [tight] situations.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.