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Phil Hughes Takes Ivan Nova’s Spot In Yankees Rotation

Stephen Dunn, Getty Images

The Yankees got some good news and bad news on Sunday.  The good news?  Phil Hughes is coming back to the Yankees rotation.  The bad news?  Ivan Nova is headed to the minors.

After missing two-and-a-half months, Phil Hughes will start on Wednesday in Cleveland against the Indians.  The Yankees optioned Nova to Triple-A Scranton before Sunday afternoon’s 3-2, 10-inning loss against the New York Mets.

The 24-year old Nova was 8-4 with a 4.12 ERA in 16 starts with the Yankees.  Nova will remain a starter while at AAA.  The Yankees thinking is that if one of their other starters struggles or gets hurt, Nova will get the call back to the Majors.

In the big scheme of things, this isn’t much of a surprise as Nova always seemed like the most likely candidate to lose his spot in the rotation once Hughes got healthy.  CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett are locked in as New York’s first and second starters.   While Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia have been huge surprises this year and aren’t going anywhere.

Joe Robbins, Getty Images

Nova’s eight wins are tied for second most on the staff.  His last start for the Yanks was on Friday night as he went five-innings and allowed one-run against the Mets en route to his eighth win of the season.

Hughes has been on the disabled list since April 15 with right arm inflammation. He is 0-1 with a 13.94 ERA in three starts and is hoping to return to his All-Star form from a year ago. 

On Thursday, the 25-year old went 6 1/3 innings and gave up just one-run during an 88-pitch rehab outing for Double-A Trenton.  After nearly 3 months on the DL, the Yankees finally feel he’s ready to return to the big club.

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