BRADENTON, Fla. — Like many players who leave the Yankees, Ivan Nova chose a different look with his new team.

Nova, traded to the Pirates minutes before last season’s trade deadline in exchange for minor-league outfielder Tito Polo and minor-league pitcher Stephen Tarpley, took the mound against his former team Monday afternoon with a slightly unkempt beard and a blond head of hair.

“Trying to have fun now that I can do that,” Nova said with a smile. “Something different.”

For the longest time, the Yankees’ way was all the 30-year-old knew, having been signed as an amateur free agent by the club on July 15, 2004.

It is not a stretch to say the righthander grew up with the Yankees.

“Facing them the first time, I have a lot of emotion in the beginning of the game, a little pumped up,” Nova said. “I’m not going to lie, felt a lot of emotion when I saw all my teammates there.”

Nova allowed an unearned run — the result of two errors he committed in the third inning — and two hits over three innings. Nova, whose hand was wrapped in ice after taking Brett Gardner’s comebacker in the third off his right hand, struck out two.

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Nova had his moments with the Yankees, who were not interested in signing him this offseason, such as 2011 when he went 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA and finished fourth in AL Rookie of the Year voting. But he was otherwise inconsistent, going 53-39 but with a 4.41 ERA in seven seasons. He was 7-6 with a 4.90 ERA last year when he was traded to the Pirates, with whom he seemed to find something, going 5-2 with a 3.06 ERA. The Pirates brought him back on a three-year, $26-million free- agent contract.

“I knew they had to make a decision on me,” Nova said of the Yankees’ choice to trade him. “There was a lot of new guys coming up and they wanted to give them an opportunity. I understood that part. I think it worked out well.”