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Yankees' Ivan Nova not guaranteed rotation spot

Yankees manager Joe Girardi says Ivan Nova will have to "go out and prove himself" to win a spot in the team's rotation.

Chris McGrath

Right-hander Ivan Nova won 16 games for the New York Yankees in 2011 before struggling to the tune of a 5.02 ERA in 2012. Following his tough campaign, manager Joe Girardi tells Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger that the 26-year-old will have to "go out and prove himself" to win a spot in the team's rotation.

Nova appeared in 28 games, including 27 starts, for the Yankees in 2011. He won 16 games while losing only four, posting an ERA of 3.70 with a 1.72 strikeout-to-walk ratio. These totals helped him finish fourth in American League Rookie of the Year voting.

Nova went on to improve his strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.73) in 2012, but he was hit hard. This led to a 5.02 ERA, and the right-hander's inconsistency resulted in Girardi twice leaving him off New York's postseason roster.

Nova admitted that he pressed last season after his struggles began. While he continued "working hard during the year," he "wasn't getting the results" he was looking for.

Entering the 2013 season, Nova will have to compete for a spot in New York's rotation, based on Girardi's comments. David Phelps will be pushing Nova for the final spot, as he proved a capable starter for the Yankees last season over limited opportunities.

You would have to assume that Nova's the favorite, as Girardi likely hopes to keep Phelps in his swingman role. However, it doesn't sound like he's guaranteed a spot.