Unless Phil Hughes turns it around fairly soon and fully develops into what Yankee fans thought he would be (this writer thinks the time has come and gone for him to do so), someone must take that spot.  That someone is Ivan Nova.  The kid has electric stuff when he is on.  16 wins in 2011.  High ceiling.  A fastball that rises.  Off-speed stuff that keeps good hitters off-balanced.  And, unlike Hughes the nibbler, Nova has shown early in his career that he is not afraid and will attack hitters.

But now Nova is an unknown because of a shaky 2012 and disastrous start in 2013.  In fact, Nova is 2-6 in 12 starts with a 7.10 ERA since the 2012 All-Star break.  Nova only exceeded 6 innings pitched four times since July 15, 2012.  He has been nibbling instead of attacking and giving up tons of walks and extra base hits.

So what now?  Larry Rothschild has a project on his hands.  But Nova isn't lost just yet.  If he can turn it around and stay consistent, the Yanks might not have to worry about Hughes being a go-to-guy and Top 3 pitcher in the rotation because Nova could man that spot.  But like Hughes three years ago, Nova has to be the real deal very, very soon.

By:  Mike Lindsley, "Mid-Day with Mike," 1-4, Yankee pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio.  Follow him on Twitter @MikeLSports.