PITTSBURGH — Ivan Nova started 118 games in seven seasons with the Yankees, so the righthander correctly wasn’t buying into one postgame narrative lobbed his way:
That the Yankees, who signed him as an amateur free agent way back on July 15, 2004, had prematurely given up on him.
“No,” Nova said. “What can I tell you about it? It’s business, it’s business. I would say I’m not a GM. I don’t know what the plan was, but whatever happens happens, man.”
What happened Sunday was that Nova continued to pitch well for the Pirates. He allowed one run and four hits in seven innings in a 2-1 victory over the Yankees, who dealt him for minor-league outfielder Tito Polo and minor-league pitcher Stephen Tarpley before last season’s trade deadline.
Nova, who went 5-2 with a 3.06 ERA last season with Pittsburgh, improved to 2-2 with a 2.00 ERA this season. With a terrific sinker and nasty curveball, he struck out seven and allowed his first walk of the season after 22 2⁄3 innings without one. Oddly, it was drawn by Yankees rookie lefty Jordan Montgomery, who batted for the first time since his senior year of high school in 2011.
Before facing the Yankees in spring training, Nova, 30, said he harbored no bitterness toward the club that he “grew up with” and for whom he went 53-39 with a 4.41 ERA in 131 games (counting starts and relief appearances).
On Saturday, Nova visited with several of his former teammates and even strolled down to the visitor’s clubhouse, where CC Sabathia emerged and embraced him in a big bear hug.
But Nova also told reporters on Saturday that he would treat Sunday as “just another” game, which he said he did.
“Yeah, it was,” he said. “Yesterday I got the chance to go say hi to a lot of the guys. I told somebody I was out there [outside their clubhouse] and they were happy to see me. A lot of them came out and hugged me. Today was game day and I was just trying to stay focused on the game.”