Ivan Nova’s self-evaluation has its harsh side. He had “a bad year” in 2012, he said, and he “did a lot of things wrong on the mound.”
But even his own withering criticism hasn’t crushed his confidence. No, despite regressing as a pitcher last year and a stubborn side that made him stick with certain pitches he sometimes couldn’t control, Nova firmly believes he’ll crack the Yankees’ rotation in 2013.
“I’m going to be there,” Nova said after a workout at the Yankees’ minor league complex. “Just do my work. It doesn’t cross my mind that I’m going to be in the minor leagues. I’m going to be in the rotation, that’s what I’m working for.
“I know what I’ve got in my hand,” Nova added. “I know what I’ve got and I know what I can do and I just have to do it.”
With CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes set in the Yanks’ five-man rotation, the last spot figures to come down to Nova or David Phelps. Nova, 26, was 12-8 with a 5.02 ERA in 28 starts last season, giving up 194 hits in 170.1 innings.
Nova fizzled late last season, going 2-5 with a 7.05 ERA in his final 11 starts, and was left off the postseason roster. He also spent time on the disabled list with rotator cuff inflammation, but in the words of nearly every player in baseball at this time of year, “feels great, really, really great,” now.
“I have a lot of expectations for this year,” Nova said. “I want to have a better year than I had last year. That’s the main thing right now.”
He said that even though he was disappointed in his work last year, there were some positives. For instance, he struck out 8.08 batters per nine innings, 10th in the American League.
“I did some good things,” he said. “I know my ERA jumped a lot (it was 3.70 in his breakout 2011). I got hurt and all that, but you just take the positive things out of it and work on what you did wrong and put everything together.”
One failing that troubles him still is his over-reliance on pitches that “I can’t control at that moment and I throw it (anyway),” he said. “You’ve got to work with other stuff.”


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