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Next step for Nova could be return to Yanks

Girardi, Cashman to decide if righty is ready following second rehab start

BALTIMORE -- The Yankees are evaluating the reports from Ivan Nova's second Minor League rehabilitation start, and the club could decide this week whether the right-hander is ready to join the big league rotation.

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Recovering from Tommy John surgery, Nova pitched six innings of one-run ball on Saturday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He permitted five hits, walked one and struck out three, logging a win in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's 5-1 victory over Rochester, the Twins' top farm affiliate.

"The reports on him said he threw OK," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Sunday. "I'll sit down and talk to [general manager] Brian [Cashman] in the next couple of days and decide what's next."

The 28-year-old Nova threw 50 of 73 pitches for strikes in the outing. The Yankees have not announced a starting pitcher past Thursday, when CC Sabathia is slated to start against the Marlins.

It is possible that Nova could slot into the rotation on Friday against the Tigers in New York, or Adam Warren could be used in that spot on regular rest.

Nova had surgery last April 29 and has enjoyed a recovery that has largely been without setbacks, remaining behind in Tampa, Fla., following Spring Training. He made one other rehab start, for Class A Advanced Tampa, and the Yankees have been projecting a June return to the big league mound for Nova.

"His velocity was decent," Girardi said. "His curveball maybe wasn't quite as sharp as we've seen it, but he got stretched out a little bit and has been going every fifth day. So like I said, I'll sit down with Brian and talk about what we think is best."

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