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Ivan Nova will start so rest of rotation can get extra rest

Ivan Nova of the Yankees waves as he

Ivan Nova of the Yankees waves as he leaves a game against the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. (June 23, 2013) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

BALTIMORE - Joe Girardi doesn't want to see his pitching staff overtaxed heading into the All-Star break.

For that reason, Ivan Nova is being kept with the big-league club instead of being returned to the minors. Girardi said he likely will start one of the four games the Yankees play against the Twins next week in Minneapolis.

"We're in an extremely long stretch of 20 games,'' Girardi said. "You start tacking on three or four starts in a row where it's normal rest, we think that's pretty taxing. So if during this time you can insert Nova one time or, if you need to, twice, we'll do it.''

Girardi said the six-man rotation isn't for any pitcher in particular. "It's the whole group because our guys have, except for Phelpsie [David Phelps] and Andy [Pettitte], have really made every start. They've racked up some innings in the first half.''

In his first start since May 29, Nova was charged with three runs in 62/3 innings in a 3-1 loss to the Rays on Sunday, with two of the runs scoring after he left the game. Girardi said he will be available out of the bullpen against the Orioles if there is a need for another long man in addition to Adam Warren.

Being selectiveRobinson Cano, who had three hits Friday night, including an RBI single, was coming off a 6-for-24 (.250) homestand. It's a byproduct of seeing fewer good pitches to hit.

That, of course, has been a byproduct of pitchers knowing that a walk to Cano, with what's behind him in the lineup, isn't fatal.

"We're not the same team we used to be in the past,'' said Cano, who walked a career-high 61 times last season and has 36 this year. "I might see one pitch over the plate. It's not like before where the pitcher might give you a strike. Now they're just going corner to corner and I might see one pitch. I have to take advantage when I see that one pitch.''

Cano entered Friday night hitting .276 with a .357 OBP. He has 16 homers and 47 RBIs, both team highs. He lifted his average to .281.

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