Before the New York Yankees played the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, news broke out that Ivan Nova will likely need Tommy John surgery that will sideline him for the rest of the 2014 MLB season. After all of the injuries the Yankees suffered last year, it looks like they’re getting back to how they started last season with the injury to Nova and the injuries to Francisco Cervelli and David Robertson. In 2013, Nova was perhaps the most consistent starting pitcher not named Hiroki Kuroda for the Yankees. It is clear that they will miss his presence.
Sometimes in sports, when an opportunity presents itself, it is up to someone to claim it and go with it. There is also something in sports called the “next man up” approach. The Yankees are experts at this. Before the season, everyone knew Alex Rodriguez wouldn’t be able to start at third base because of his suspension. This opened up a spot for little-known Yangervis Solarte, and Solarte has taken off with it.
With Nova likely done for the season, this opens up a spot in New York’s pitching staff. Combined with his starting appearances from last year and his start on Sunday, it is clear that Vidal Nuño should be a part of this pitching staff for the rest of the year. Luckily for New York, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda have been great. That said, if Nuno is a weekly starter for the Yankees, he won’t have a ton of pressure on him considering he will be the No. 5 starter.
Nuño is an intriguing pitcher primarily because he is a lefty. He mixes up his pitches well and has a great slider that does a great job of catching the batter off guard. In three starts in 2013, Nuño only had a 2.25 ERA. He is not a ground ball pitcher, but he gets outs. Many will wonder who the Yankees will bring up to be the starter in place of Nova, but the solution is already on the roster in Nuño.