ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Ivan Nova took another step, albeit a small one, toward returning to the Yankees' rotation.

The righthander, who had Tommy John surgery late last April, threw his second live batting practice session of the week on Friday morning at the Yankees minor league complex, throwing 20 pitches.

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"This one was better than the one I threw earlier this week," said Nova, who also threw a 20-pitch live BP session Tuesday, which was the first time during his rehab facing hitters. "I threw all my pitches. My curveball wasn't there today, I only threw one good one, but fastball, changeup and sinker was right there and I had a little more intensity on the pitches. It feels really good."

Nova said he will throw two more live BPs next week, again on Tuesday and Friday, and hopes to progress to simulated games after that. He is still a ways away from returning to the Yankees.

"I feel like a month-and-a-half, two months, I'll be close to where I have to be," he said.

But facing hitters shows him the end of his rehab is in sight.

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"I'm getting closer," Nova said. "Being able to throw in a game, even though it's two hitters, feels awesome. I'm excited to get back. The end of the tunnel's right there ... Hopefully I'll be up there soon."