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Ivan Nova says he's ready to return to the Yankees

Yankees' Ivan Nova warms up his arm during

Yankees' Ivan Nova warms up his arm during the first day of spring training at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. on Feb. 12, 2013. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Don't bother asking, Ivan Nova said. You know what Joe Girardi is going to say.

Nova, making a rare Yankee Stadium appearance Wednesday morning, said he's ready for big-league action. He performed well at his first rehab assignment Monday after coming back from Tommy John surgery, and he has a Triple-A start scheduled for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday.

"I'm ready to go," Nova said after a bullpen session in front of various coaches and Girardi. "It's a process and I understand that, but if you ask me, I think I'm ready. I feel much better. You've got a new arm. I threw my changeup, I threw my changeup like 15 times, and I don't remember the last time I threw [so many] changeups in 72 pitches. Everything was working fine."

With Nova pulling full force to get back into the rotation, it was up to Girardi to pull back on the reins Wednesday.

"I didn't say he would be ready after the next start," Girardi said. "I said we'll evaluate after the next start . . . We're pretty encouraged with where he's at right now, the sink on his fastball, his changeup and his curveball."

Flores sent down

Ramon Flores was sent down to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room for Brendan Ryan a day after going 3-for-4 and scoring a run against the Nationals on Tuesday night. Ryan went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run in Wednesday's 5-4, 11-inning loss.

Girardi indicated that Flores is unlikely to stay in the minors for long.

"This is a kid we thought very highly of, and he's playing very well," he said. "These are hard decisions that we have to make, but we sent him down so we could have the righties in the lineup today, so we'll go from there."

Jose Pirela also was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Extra bases

Tomorrow night's game against the Orioles begins a stretch of 20 straight games for the Yankees. Girardi said that in order to deal with the workload, he might choose to deploy one or two spot starters during that time frame . . . The Yankees announced that they will flip the rotation this weekend, with CC Sabathia pitching Saturday and Adam Warren going on Sunday . . . Jacoby Ellsbury (knee sprain) is making progress and will meet up with the team when it travels to Miami next week for an interleague series. "He is better," Girardi said. "He won't start games right away, but he's definitely closer."


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