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Nova's control on display vs. Nationals

TAMPA, Fla. -- Right-hander Ivan Nova arrived at camp with several goals tucked safely away in his mind. He doesn't want to reveal some of them, but here are two: He wants to be more consistent, and he wants to win another World Series ring.

"I just want to be a pitcher that the team can trust every five days," Nova said. "I just want to do my job every five days. That's one of the goals that I really want, that I want to be consistent. I think I can do that and be really good."

Nova focused on his control in his second spring start on Monday, and he was near-pinpoint. He threw 31 of 35 pitches for strikes in New York's 4-2 win over Washington, walking none and striking out four.

"It's great. Today I had better control than what I had my first start," he said. "I was trying to attack the strike zone, trying not to walk anybody."

Nova was so economical, he had to go to the bullpen after he'd been removed from the game to throw about 10 more pitches. He was especially pleased by a couple of breaking balls that broke fast and short, looking like fastballs before diving out of the strike zone.

"It's a great curveball. It's a great 12-to-6," said catcher Brian McCann. "When he's throwing that for strikes and he's working down in the zone with that two-seamer, his stuff is as good as it gets."

Nova is likely to begin the season as the No. 3 or No. 4 starter, depending on how the Yankees want to slot right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, but McCann believes that Nova is destined for even greater things.

"There is no ceiling on a guy like him," McCann said. "He can do whatever he wants. If he gets into a groove, he can ride it out for a full season. Certain things click and players take their game to another level. He's looking really good down here."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.
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