Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova warms up before facing the...

Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova warms up before facing the Toronto Blue Jays in a spring training game. (March 8, 2012) Credit: AP

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Joe Girardi has said the first couple of outings for his starters won't be factored into his decisions about the rotation.

That was the one good thing Ivan Nova could take from Thursday.

The 25-year-old righthander struggled with his fastball command in his second exhibition start, allowing five runs and six hits in 22/3 innings in a 6-1 loss.

"My arm feels good, my body feels good, but I wasn't locating," said Nova, who allowed two runs -- one earned -- in his first start. "When you don't have location, you can't have a good game."

The smile typically affixed to the amiable Nova's face was missing as he expressed frustration in not being able to command his fastball. "I'm doing something different than I'm doing in the bullpen," Nova said. "My bullpens have been good . . . I guess I'm trying to do too much. I've got to figure it out."

Nova, who went 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA last season, remains a favorite to win one of the rotation spots, and Girardi won't make much of a bad outing this early.

"I thought his stuff was OK," Girardi said. "I thought he got into bad counts. He kind of lost command of his fastball and got behind."

Ibañez gets it right

A big reason the Yankees signed Raul Ibañez instead of Johnny Damon for their lefty DH job was the feeling the 39-year-old would be a better option in the outfield when the need arose. Ibañez started in right Thursday, the first time he's played there since 2005. Ibañez has played 1,267 career games in leftfield compared to 152 in right.

"Haven't played right in a long time," Ibañez said. "It came back to me."

Ibañez, as he said the day he reported, is happy doing "whatever."

"I'm happy playing for the New York Yankees," he said, adding of playing the field, "I do take pride in being able to play out there."

Extra bases

Mariano Rivera threw his second live BP session of the week and said he's "ready to go" for his debut Sunday against the Phillies . . . The Yankees had eight hits against the Blue Jays, two by Ramiro Peña. Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira were among those with one . . . Rocky Point graduate Dan Burawa, a 12th-round pick out of St. John's in 2010, pitched a scoreless eighth. He allowed a walk -- which was erased by a double-play grounder -- gave up an infield single and struck out a batter.

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