When Ivan Nova left Friday night's start in the third inning complaining of right elbow pain, the Yankees feared the worst. But the team received relatively good news Saturday when an MRI revealed nothing more serious than triceps inflammation, which shouldn't cost him much more time than a 15-day DL stint.
"That's going to heal," Joe Girardi said. "It's just going to take some time."
Nova pointed to an area just above his right elbow when he described the discomfort and indicated it was brought on only when he threw curveballs. He still felt some tightness there Saturday morning.
Nova figured out that the team planned to put him on the DL when he noticed Vidal Nuno, just up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, seated at a locker across the clubhouse.
While Nova was relieved the injury was not more severe, it still was a tough break, given the timing. He is off to a shaky start this season, and he was hoping to use Friday night to turn things around. "I was feeling really good," he said. "It's not what you want."
Girardi confirmed that David Phelps, coming off Friday night's stellar relief outing, will take over Nova's spot in the rotation. Phelps became the first Yankee since 1920 to strike out nine in four or fewer innings.
As for Nuno, he got the call at home midnight Friday, and a hired driver took him to Yankee Stadium from Scranton. He'll assume Phelps' long-relief role after dominating Triple-A with a 1.54 ERA in four starts. He struck out 26 and walked two in 231/3 innings.
"Nuno has been amazing," said catcher Austin Romine, who also was called up Saturday. "He's been lights out. It's like Playstation. I could call any pitch at any time and he would throw it there."
Romine ready to shine?The Yankees moved quickly to get Romine to the Bronx. How quickly? As soon as they discovered Francisco Cervelli's hand was broken Friday night, they had Romine pulled from his game in Scranton -- in the middle of an inning, with Romine behind the plate.
When the bench motioned for him, Romine figured it was for a meeting at the mound. Instead, they were calling him off the field. "I didn't want to come out," he said. "I was like, 'I didn't do anything wrong.' I've never seen that situation happen before."
"It depends on how he performs," Girardi said. "I don't want to throw too much at him too quickly."