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Nova exudes confidence

CLEARWATER, Fla.

Ivan Nova isn't lacking for confidence. He showed it at times last year when he was up at the end of the season but its more prevalent so far this spring. Certainly not a bad thing for a pitcher who, if there are no trades made, the Yankees will be counting on.

Nova, who smiles easily, broke into a wide grin when asked what he’s liked best about his spring so far.

“Right now I’m happy with everything,” Nova said after retiring all six Phillies he faced Sunday. “The first thing I’m happy with is we have a spot open in the rotation. Everything’s going well, I have really good command right now and I feel great. I like everything.”

Girardi is fine hearing that.

“He should believe in himself,” Girardi said. “I believe in him. This kid, I think he’s got a bright future…this kid’s extremely talented and we like his stuff.”

*** The Yankees also like the stuff of Dellin Betances, who struck out three of the four batters he faced. GM Brian Cashman has already said, regardless of what Betances and Manny Banuelos, another highly regarded prospect, do this spring, they'll start the season in Trenton.

"I just want to make a good impression," Betances said. "I came here knowing it was going to be tough since I didn't have that much experience. But I feel good and I'm just going to try and keep working every time I get the ball and make the best out of it."

Betances said he was made more comfortable throwing to a familiar face, the organization’s top prospect, Jesus Montero. Both came to the Yankees in 2006; Betances as the team’s eight-round pick and Montero, 21, as an undrafted free agent in October of the same year.

“It kind of helped I had somebody working behind the plate that I’ve worked with for four, five years now,” Betances said. “He helped me relax.”

*** Girardi said RHP Andrew Brackman (groin) played catch and did some flat ground work and could throw a bullpen as soon as Wednesday.


 

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