Nova steps back into rotation with Kuroda ailing
MINNEAPOLIS -- It was probably going to take an injury for Ivan Nova to get back into the rotation, and that unfortunate set of circumstances struck on Tuesday, when Hiroki Kuroda was sent to New York for an MRI on his ailing left hip flexor.
Kuroda was scratched from his scheduled start against the Orioles on Friday, a turn that will now be taken by Nova.
"Of course, you don't want [anyone] to get hurt, but what can I do?" Nova said. "I've just got to take advantage of the opportunity that God gave me right now. It's not the way that you want to be pitching, but there's nothing I can do."
Nova's last outing came in relief, against the Orioles on June 29, when he pitched 5 2/3 innings of solid two-run, six-hit ball to mop up after a rough outing by David Phelps.
Friday will mark Nova's first start since he went into the rotation for a spot start on June 23, when he held Tampa Bay to three runs and seven hits over 6 2/3 innings in a 3-1 loss.
Nova feels as though he is always auditioning for more work.
"It's not good. I don't feel good the way I am right now," he said. "I don't know when I'm pitching [until] somebody gets hurt. It's not the spot I want to be in, but it's something that I can't control."
Nova was in the rotation in April before being demoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He accepts responsibility for his problems, and he is motivated to work his way back to prominence.
"I can say that I put myself in this position," he said. "I wasn't pitching good enough in the second half last year, and the way I started  wasn't good. I did put myself in this position."