The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

March 17, 2013

Bucs batter Yankees’ pitcher Nova in loss

BRADENTON, Fla. — Ivan Nova believes he’s gotten comfortable enough with his new delivery to win a spot in the New York Yankees’ starting rotation.

Nova tossed five decent innings in an 11-9 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. The right-hander gave up four runs on six hits, walked one and struck out four.

“I think it went good,” Nova said. “I got hit a couple times, but I was able to do what I wanted.”

Nova has been working in camp with pitching coach Larry Rothschild to shorten the arm movement on his delivery. The adjustment creates more downward plane of Nova’s pitches, making his mid-90s mph fastball an even better weapon.

“We’re still working on it,” Nova said. “It’s not easy to do when you don’t typically pitch with a shorter arm action. It’s getting better. I’m throwing the ball with a better angle and that’s something positive. “Sometimes, a couple times (Sunday), it wasn’t there,” Nova said. “But I feel comfortable. I have two more starts and I think that will be enough time to get ready for the season.”

The 26-year-old Nova has lots of potential, but he faded badly over the final two months of last season and was not included on the Yankees’ postseason roster.

“This has been a really good spring,” Nova said. “I’ve been throwing strikes, I’ve been throwing with good velocity, the slider is coming back.”

Will it be enough to clinch a rotation spot?

“I can’t really say,” Nova said. “For me, I don’t think I’ve got to show (anything). I’ve got to just pitch my game, do the best I can out there and they’ll make their decision. Even if I pitch good now, it’s their decision.”

In his second game since joining the Yankees, Brennan Boesch got his first hit, an infield single. Boesch stole second and scored on Kevin Youkilis’ home run to left field, which gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

Boesch went 2 for 3 with a sacrifice fly. The Yankees signed Boesch to a one-year, $1.5 million deal Friday after he was released by the Detroit Tigers.

Right-hander Phil Irwin worked 2 1⁄3 innings for the Pirates and gave up six runs on seven hits and two walks.

“I pitched behind a lot,” said Irwin, who likely will start the season in the rotation at Triple-A Indianapolis. “A lot of the things I usually do well I didn’t do well today. Sometimes, you have to fail to figure out what you need to do to succeed. Obviously, this didn’t go well, but there are still things I can take from this and learn from.”

After Irwin issued back-to-back walks in the third inning, he was replaced by Mike Zagurski. Dan Johnson walked to load the bases, then Mesa hit a towering home run into the left field bleachers.

Irwin had put together four good outings – a 2.25 ERA over eight innings, with five hits allowed and nine strikeouts – before struggling against the Yankees.

“It was a tough day for Phil,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “But that’s part of spring training. You pitch well, you get bigger looks and different opportunities. For whatever reason today, he was behind in the count and his fastball was up. Everything we know about Phil, we didn’t see.”

Pedro Alvarez had two doubles, including one that scored Russell Martin for the Pirates’ first run.

Notes: The Yankees released OF Matt Diaz, who was in camp on a minor league contract. Diaz batted .200 in 13 Grapefruit League games and fell out of contention for a bench spot. ... Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira (partially torn wrist tendon sheaf) reported to camp. He is expected to wear a wrist brace for a month and likely will be out of action until June. ... To mark St. Patrick’s Day, the Pirates wore green caps and bench coach Jeff Banister filled out the lineup card in green ink.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Pirates cut down by Reds’ Cueto

    April 23, 2014

  • Penguins 0422 Blown leads are troubling trend in series

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sunnehanna makes changes to tourney week

    April 22, 2014

  • Penguins 0421 Penguins finish hot to grab 2-1 series lead

    Brandon Sutter, Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen scored in a span of 2:13 of the third period to revive the Penguins from yet another two-goal deficit in a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0421 Pirates walk off against Reds to halt home skid

    Ike Davis became the first player to hit grand slams for different teams in the same April, and Neil Walker had a winning run single with two outs in the ninth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates twice overcame deficits to beat the Reds 6-5 Monday night.
    Pittsburgh trailed 2-0 before Davis’ fourth-inning homer off Mike Leake.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sitting Bulls bring home national sled hockey title

    The Johnstown Sitting Bulls disabled sled hockey team recently won a national championship.
    The team, comprised of disabled athletes from Cambria, Somerset, Indiana, Bedford and Blair counties, finished first in the Youth B Division at the USA Hockey National Disabled Hockey Festival held April 11-13 in Marlborough, Mass.

    April 21, 2014

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 21, 2014

  • APTOPIX Boston Marathon.jpg Marathon men’s winner has names of victims on bib

    The winner of the Boston Marathon men’s race had the names of last year’s victims written in marker on the corners of his race bib.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates Brawl 0420 Brewers top Pirates in game highlighted by dustup

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Football team ends boycott of embattled coach

    Minnesota State University-Mankato’s football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
    Hoffner said he assured the players, who refused to take the practice field Wednesday, that interim coach Aaron Keen, who led the team in Hoffner’s absence, will continue in a major role with the team.

    April 20, 2014