Yankees' right-hander Ivan Nova has decided to undergo Tommy John surgery to fix a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. The surgery will be performed by Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday, and Nova will miss the rest of the season.
Nova was removed from his start against the Rays last Saturday due to right elbow soreness, and then was examined by Yankees' team doctor Chris Ahmad. Ahmad recommended that Nova go under the knife, and he decided that he would have the surgery now instead of pitching through the injury and opting for Tommy John surgery at a later date.
Nova's decision is similar to that of Matt Moore, the Rays starter who decided to undergo Tommy John surgery now instead of waiting until after the season. Nova and Moore are the newest members of a large group of pitchers who have had Tommy John surgery since spring training, joining Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy (Braves), Jarrod Parker (Athletics), Bobby Parnell (Mets), Patrick Corbin (Diamondbacks), Jameson Taillon (Pirates) and others.
Nova has struggled in four starts this season, posting a 2-2 record and 8.27 ERA in 20.2 innings. He is coming off a very strong season in which he went 9-6 with a 3.10 ERA in 23 appearances (20 starts), and was expected to be a key contributor to the Yankees' rotation this year.
With Nova possibly out for an extended period of time, the Yankees may have to explore the trade market in hopes of finding a fifth arm to add to their rotation of CC Sabathia,Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. Vidal Nuno is expected to take over for Nova in the short-term, but the Yankees could definitely be on the lookout for an arm as the season progresses.