ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Ivan Nova has lost his spot in the Yankees' rotation.
The righthander, 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA in four starts before landing on the disabled list April 27 with inflammation in his right triceps, will have to earn his way back.
"He's not in the rotation right now,'' Joe Girardi said of Nova, who was activated Friday. "I still believe this kid can really help us, but we have to get him on track and we're doing it through the bullpen.''
Nova, whose inconsistency has frustrated the team hierarchy the last two seasons, prefers starting.
"I'm not a bullpen guy,'' he said before Girardi spoke to reporters. "But if that's what their plan is for me right now, I have to do my best.''
David Phelps seemed to be OK after being hit by a line drive Friday night, so Nova's status appears unaffected.
Rookie Vidal Nuño, who threw five shutout innings in his first career start May 13 against the Indians, will take his scheduled turn Saturday afternoon. He likely will be replaced in the rotation when Andy Pettitte is healthy.
Pettitte, on the DL with a strained left trapezius muscle, played catch from 60, 90 and 120 feet Friday and plans to throw a bullpen session Saturday. "Tomorrow will be a big day. We'll see if it tightens up,'' he said, adding: "I feel good. I'm not having any problems at all playing catch.''
David Phelps, 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in four starts entering Friday night, is staying in the rotation for now.
"We just like what Phelps is doing right now,'' Girardi said. "And it's been a struggle for Nova. He didn't pitch horrible, but Phelps has pitched pretty well.''
Tex next week? Mark Teixeira, who has been rehabbing a partially torn tendon sheath in his right wrist, will play in extended spring training games Saturday, Monday and Tuesday before heading to Double-A Trenton, he said, to play Wednesday and Thursday. He is eligible to come off the 60-day DL Thursday, and Girardi said it's "possible'' he will be activated Friday.