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CC Sabathia confident Ivan Nova can be a 'top starter' for Yankees

Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia shouts out while

Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia shouts out while leaving the mound after giving up a run to the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning. (Sept. 14, 2013) Credit: AP

CC Sabathia expressed approval of the biggest additions to the Yankees this offseason — notably Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran — because “if you put those guys in our park, I think we’ll have a pretty good offense.”

However, the problem is the Yankees need to pitch in that park, too.

It’s the middle of December, and question marks still surround who will comprise the rest of the starting rotation behind Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova.

Does Sabathia, the Yankees’ ace who endured the worst season of his 13-year career, believe the club needs to add another arm to the rotation?

“I mean, that’s not for me to say, I think we still have Michael [Pineda] coming back, you know, we signed Hiro back, so I’m sure they’ll go out and patch in a few other guys and see who can fill those spots so we’ll see what happens,” Sabathia said Tuesday afternoon before he hosted a holiday party for youngsters from the Madison Square Boys and Girls Columbus Clubhouse at the MLB Fan Cave in Manhattan.

One guy could be Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.

Earlier Tuesday, Tanaka, 25, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Pacific League during the regular season, said he wants to be posted, according to reports in Japan.

When asked what type of impact a pitcher like Tanaka could bring to the Yankees, Sabathia said, “Man, I’m going to be honest with you, I have zero idea; I haven’t seen the guy pitch, I’ve just seen him on ESPN about the posting all that stuff, I don’t really know about him.”

Someone who Sabathia is quite familiar with is Nova, who was 9-6 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 139 1/3 innings last year. He’s also someone the Yankees could count on more in 2014, according to the southpaw.

“We’ve seen Nova be great in spurts and then he has had some trouble,” Sabathia said. “But if he could put a whole season together and lock it in, I think he could be one of the top starters in the league.”

That's something the Yankees might need Nova to become, though there is still plenty of time in the offseason for the Yankees to make another move, which Sabathia noted more than once.

And for those wondering (or wishing) if a comeback for the retired Andy Pettitte is a possibility, Sabathia, who said he spoke to him recently, laughed and added, “No chance.” 

New York Sports