The Yankees demoted Vidal Nuño and Ivan Nova Friday to make room for Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira, saying they'd rather have both pitchers in the Triple-A rotation than their major-league bullpen.
Nuño, 25, was impressive in his first trip to the majors, posting a 2.25 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 20 innings. He allowed two runs and three hits in six innings in a 3-1 loss to the Mets on Thursday night. But with Andy Pettitte set to return from the disabled list Monday, the Yankees don't have room for Nuño in the rotation.
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"The way I see it is that it's a numbers game and there's only a 25-man roster," Nuño said, "so people have to be sent down when DL guys get ready to come back."
Asked if he proved he can pitch on this level, he said: "I showed it the last three starts. You guys can take it a bad way or a good way. Numbers talk."
Manager Joe Girardi said sending Nuño down despite his strong performance "is the worst part of my job."
Nova, who is 2-1 with a 5.16 ERA, pitched out of the bullpen after being activated from the DL May 24. But the Yankees still envision him as a starter and want to get him back on track. "We need to get him stretched out and doing what he's capable of doing," Girardi said.
Nova was unavailable for comment, but he tweeted in Spanish on his verified Twitter account that he will stay strong in the face of the demotion.
"It's day-to-day. We'll see how it is tomorrow," Ellsbury said. "I got in here early, got treatment and it continued to stay tight. I just want to do the right thing."
The Yankees' May 19 postponement against Toronto will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader at the Stadium on Aug. 20.With Tom Pedulla