Ivan Nova To Undergo Tommy John Surgery

THURSDAY: Nova has chosen to have the TJ procedure, tweets Feinsand.

TUESDAY: The Yankees announced that Nova’s second exam confirmed that he has a partially torn UCL, and that Ahmad has recommended surgery.

MONDAY: The Tommy John epidemic that is sweeping Major League Baseball looks to have another victim, as Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova learned after an MRI this weekend that he has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, writes Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. Feinsand says that Nova will be re-examined today by team physician Chris Ahmad, but the very likely outcome is that Nova will be the 15th pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery this season.

Nova was roughed up by the Rays in his start on Saturday, but he didn’t feel any discomfort in his elbow until the final pitch he threw, writes Feinsand. Nova said he felt a pop on that pitch and was in denial as he was being removed from the game, not believing himself to be seriously injured and wanting to continue pitching to spare his bullpen.

With Nova likely on the shelf through next spring, the Yankees will test their internal depth. Vidal Nuno could be the favorite to take over in the team’s rotation, though other options such as David Phelps and Adam Warren are present. New York could also look to the waiver wire and continue to get by with a patchwork solution until clubs begin making more reliable arms available on the trade market this summer.

Needless to say, the resurgence of Michael Pineda is now even more impactful for the Yankees. Were it not for Pineda’s health, the club would be fielding a rotation of Masahiro Tanaka, Hiroki Kuroda, a declining CC Sabathia and a pair of the aforementioned internal options. Now, manager Joe Girardi tells Feinsand that he will meet with GM Brian Cashman, presumably on today’s off-day, to determine which of Nuno, Phelps or Warren will step into Nova’s spot.

68 Responses to Ivan Nova To Undergo Tommy John Surgery Leave a Reply

  1. Bertin Lefkovic 1 year ago

    Coming off of the heels of last season’s quality performance, the Yankees should have traded Ivan Nova when they had the chance. Now, their only choices are to save the approximately $7MM that he will get over the next two seasons through arbitration by non-tendering him this coming offseason or try to lock him up long-term with a team-friendly (6-8 years and $30-40MM) contract. My choice would be to dump him, because if they don’t and he comes back in 2016 and has a good season, it will cost the Yankees twice as much for a starting pitcher who is average at best.

    • LazerTown 1 year ago

      Can say that in retrospect, but the Yankees aren’t going to dump a young pitcher who went for a 3.47 era for them last year.

      • Scott Berlin 1 year ago

        3.10 was Nova’s ERA last year.

        • Bertin Lefkovic 1 year ago

          He has had 2 good years and 1 terrible year and is affordable, which told me that his trade value was as high going into this season as it ever was going to be. He probably did not have as much trade value as Nick Franklin, but he could have probably been the centerpiece of a package for Franklin. Would the Reds have traded Brandon Phillips for Nova straight up?

          • Yes, but that would’ve been a horrible deal for the Yankees unless the Reds kicked in quite a bit in salary for Phillips.

            How much value do you think Franklin has? If he was such a hot commodity, the Mariners would’ve traded him by now.

          • Metsfan93 1 year ago

            Not going to say Franklin has tons of value, but that isn’t how things work. He was displaced by the best second baseman of the last half-decade, which is hardly an indictment of his value today and in the future..

          • Bertin Lefkovic 1 year ago

            I think that Franklin has a ton of value and the Mariners are looking to get as much value for him as possible.

          • If Franklin was worth a player of Ivan Nova’s skill and age, he’d be traded in a second.

          • Bertin Lefkovic 1 year ago

            That’s interesting, because in a previous thread that occurred shortly after Nova’s good performance against Boston and prior to his bad performance against Tampa and the injury, the consensus was that Ivan Nova alone would not be enough to get Franklin and that the Yankees did not have enough additional pieces to construct a package around Nova that would be equal to Franklin. I can only assume that you disagree with that perspective. Does anybody else?

          • LazerTown 1 year ago

            But that also made him attractive to the Yankees, when they know they are concerned with the salary cap. I would not trade him for B. Phillips straight up.

          • Bertin Lefkovic 1 year ago

            Can players who are on the DL be traded? If they can be, do you think that the Reds would take a chance on Nova if the Yankees would be willing to take Phillips and his contract off of their hands in full? The Yankees could throw them Brian Roberts and cash to cover his contract and Nova’s contract for the remainder of this year and 2015 as well.

          • LazerTown 1 year ago

            yes, but not quite sure why you want Phillips so much?
            He has been declining for a couple years now. I’m not really sure if he is really that much better than what they currently have. He is still owed another $50MM/ 4 years, and he will be a 33 year old 2B in June. There is so much better ways to spend money than on Phillips. Wouldn’t be surprised if $12MM would get you Drew, who is better than Phillips, and then you don’t even need to pay Roberts and Nova’s contracts.

          • jjs91 1 year ago

            Why would the yankees want to trade Nova? and why would they want phillips?

          • Bertin Lefkovic 1 year ago

            Before his injury, Ivan Nova had been very inconsistent with one very good year followed by one very bad year followed by one very good year. I think that going into this season, we had seen the best of Nova that we were ever going to see and his trade value was probably much higher than his actual value. Phillips is a very good second baseman and even if he was overpriced, his salary for the next four years was still half of Robinson Cano’s. Had the Yankees traded for him, they would have obtained 90% of the player that he was replacing for 50% of the cost. That is a good deal in my book.

          • Riaaaaaa 1 year ago

            “Phillips is a very good second baseman and even if he was overpriced…”
            Phillips WAS a very good second baseman*

    • Not sure why they’d have traded him. That is an extremely reasonable salary given his performance, and injury is always a possibility. $7 million is nothing compared to their total payroll.

      • Bertin Lefkovic 1 year ago

        Does this mean that you would not non-tender Nova this offseason? Would you try to lock him up long-term to a team-friendly contract?

    • You don’t lock up a Tommy John pitcher.

      It would’ve made no sense to trade Nova especially given the uncertainties surrounding the Yankees rotation. Hindsight is 20/20 and the Yankees just caught a bad break.

      • Bertin Lefkovic 1 year ago

        Maybe not, but Nova is not going to have a chance to pitch a full season again until 2016, which will be his walk year. If he pitches well that season, he will probably cost somewhere between $32MM and $72MM to sign as a free agent for 4-6 years on top of the $7-8MM that they will have to pay him for 2015 and 2016.

        I think that there is an argument to be made to non-tender him this offseason or to lock him up long-term to a very inexpensive (6-8 years and $30-40MM). Even if he comes back and doesn’t have starter stuff anymore, at an AAV of $5MM per year, he could still be a reasonably priced relief pitcher/spot starter. But if he does come back and can be an effective starter, he will be very cheap and very keepable or tradeable.

        As I said before, I think that the non-tender route is the better way to go. If nobody else wants to take a chance on him in the midst of his recovery, it is possible that the Yankees could resign him to a new contract that buys out his remaining arb years for about $1MM per and maybe a couple of his free agent years for $2-3MM per.

        • jjs91 1 year ago

          That’s not true, nova will be back at the beginning of next season.

          • Riaaaaaa 1 year ago

            not necessarily the beginning of next season..most likely sometime after the all star break

          • Bertin Lefkovic 1 year ago

            When was the last time that a pitcher was 100% less than a year after TJ surgery? We might see Ivan Nova in limited action sometime in 2015, but if he is ever 100%, he won’t be there until 2016, his walk year.

          • jjs91 1 year ago

            Wainwright for one. Most pitchers actually take 10 months to start throwing again. There’s no way he will be out until 2016.

          • Bertin Lefkovic 1 year ago

            I am not saying that he is not going to pitch at all in 2015, but I would not expect him to be much of a factor that year. This is why the Yankees should either cut him loose or lock him up. I think that a strong argument could be made for going in either direction, but a wait and see approach is more likely than not going to be a waste of money one way or another.

    • Karkat 1 year ago

      The Yankees weren’t about to trade pitching going into the season. Their projected rotation around Nova included a beleaguered ace who was coming off a down year, an unknown quantity from Japan, a 39-year old, and a guy who’d missed the last two seasons with injuries. Nova was arguably the surest (in the sense of being most predictable) thing they had this offseason. Not to mention that Nova was amazingly affordable.

      • Bertin Lefkovic 1 year ago

        I think that all makes a lot of sense, except for the fact that Nova’s upside wasn’t much more than what we have already seen from him and there was also a lot of downside. Between Nuno, Phelps, and Pineda you had three unknown quanities, but also a lot of potential with ceilings that all exceeded Nova’s. If the Yankees could have received value for Nova, it would have served them well to extract it this past offseason when his trade value was at its highest. Now it is zilch.

        • jjs91 1 year ago

          None of those players have a higher ceiling than nova.

          • Bertin Lefkovic 1 year ago

            With or without pine tar, Pineda has a much higher ceiling than Nova. I believe that Nuno, who is left-handed, which is huge in Yankee Stadium, and Phelps, who has better stuff than Nova, both have more upside potential than Nova.

          • jjs91 1 year ago

            Pineda is a number two starter, nova can be a number two starter. Phelps is a back-end starter at best.

  2. publius varrus 1 year ago

    That he is the 15th pitcher to have Tommy John surgery is stunning. Dislike.

    • Chris_RG 1 year ago

      Yep, and “baseball people” will continue to sit around, throw their hands up in the air, and fatalistically accept a pitcher going down with major arm/shoulder issues as “part of the game” and instead of looking at mechanics and the unhealthy obsession baseball people have with velocity over all else, ascribe the injuries to “overuse” (even though every young pitcher seems to be on ridiculous pitch counts and innings limits) or some other factor. It’s sad.

      • Lance Pistachio 1 year ago

        It is amusing that you think that people involved in the game “throw their hands up in the air” about this issue. Games are investing hundreds of millions of dollars into these pitchers. You had better believe that teams and MLB are doing all the research they can into this issue. You can’t judge what’s being done about an issue within the game by ESPN articles.

      • Runtime 1 year ago

        The thing is: the UCL in the elbow just seems to fail randomly. Some guys are born with good ones and some are born with bad ones.

        Very few patterns or trends. Some guys with nearly identical mechanics go on to have 15+ years of 200 innings… some guys burn out after 1 year.

    • I think we are hitting the biomechanical limits of what a human arm can handle at these type of velocities and stresses. You only get to the big leagues if you have the velocity and nasty movement, but those same attributes are created through tremendous strain.

      A moneyball team might want to seriously consider developing a program looking for Mark Buehrle types.

  3. Scott Berlin 1 year ago

    Really wouldn’t say CC is declining just yet, he had a pretty good start against the Rays in his last game. He usually gets off to a slow start any way and is better down the stretch.

    • He wasn’t good down the stretch last year.

      • Treme 1 year ago

        One bad year in a veteran’s career does not necessarily mean he is declining. I think it’s fair to say his future is questionable considering his diminished velocity, but I wouldn’t say just yet that he’s declining. I’d give him at least until June.

        • That’s fair, though they’ll need ace CC for the playoffs. Hopefully against the Red Sox because we rocked him in 07.

          • Scott Berlin 1 year ago

            How did you do against him last night?

    • LazerTown 1 year ago

      He is declining. How much is up for debate, and I still believe he can be a solid pitcher, but we have seen the best of him.

      • johnsilver 1 year ago

        Agree. Some have made it back with other pitches, refined repitoire.. Ala Schill, Burnett, even Derek Lowe. CC has the ability to, just needs to tinker around some with his pitches and selection to continue on.

      • Scott Berlin 1 year ago

        He looked solid against the Sox last night!

    • strikethree 1 year ago

      Just watch his games. The stuff isn’t the same as it was in the past. You can blame a slow start, but he didn’t regain his stuff last year either.

      His fastball speed has declined since 2011 and the fastball pitch values during those years saw huge decreases.

      • Scott Berlin 1 year ago

        He looked great against the Red Sox last night who won the W.S. last season somehow. He also looked good against the Rays his start before that.

        • strikethree 1 year ago

          He had a good game against the Sox yesterday, but he would need to keep being perfect with his control to maintain success. He sat around 88-91 mph with his fastball. Again, not the 92-95 range of the past.

          I actually didn’t think he was that good in the Rays game, the results were there but not the stuff (fastball speed, movement of slider, left a lot of pitches in the zone).

          Also, these are 2 starts compared to a lot more recent poor starts.

          Hopefully, he can regain that fastball speed and slider movement.

          • Scott Berlin 1 year ago

            The Sox and Rays games were the mst recent, what is more recent then last night? He doesn’t need a 95 mph to get by, all he needs to do is throw off speed more and maintain control.

    • CC has admitted that he has to adjust now though. Thankfully for the Yankees, his contract only runs for 2 more years after this and that at least the Yankees have gotten a solid delivery on 4 of the 5 years thus far. Sabathia might yet bounce back this year to make it 5 of 6.

      • burnboll 1 year ago

        The thing that is often overlooked with weight loss, at least as severe as CCs, is that it actually converts muscle fibers into more slow twitch.

        Ie, a pitcher that loses weight the way CC has, will get fewer fast twitch fibers, those that make you throw real hard.

        But if CC stays at this weight, he’ll regain most of the fast twitch.

        So it’s actually medically logical to assume a slight improvement in velocity for him.

  4. UK Tiger
    UK Tiger 1 year ago

    Shall we just make it a league rule that any pitcher entering the league from the minors or other country has to have Tommy John before they are allowed to throw a ball in anger.

    Easier just to get it out of the way than delay the inevitable…

    • $21621694 1 year ago

      Get them started senior year of HS.
      I’m clearly joking

      • $21621694 1 year ago

        But joking aside I believe this whole Tommy John Era has a lot to do with pitchers showing weakness after a few bad outings and being out for a year (while getting paid). Not saying all injuries, just MAYBE a few. This is even more noticeable in the minors were pitchers performing poorly can be cut on any given time. And doctors like getting paid for performing this expensive surgery!

  5. PhillyYank 1 year ago

    Nova is a solid #4 starter. The Yankees will likely be in the market for a starting pitcher at the deadline. Nuno is not a guy you want to roll out in a playoff race (at least not now) and Phelps and Warren have proven valuable as bullpen options. Health pending, we could see Turley in The Show before the season is up too.

    • LazerTown 1 year ago

      Really depends how the rest of the rotation shakes out. If the rest of the rotation is as good as they have looked so far they should get by just fine with Nuno. If one of them gets injured for an extended time that backend of rotation could be exposed.

  6. Marty 1 year ago

    Doesn’t it seem like these injuries come up a lot more these days? Maybe the way they have them pitch now a days is doing more harm to them than what it did years ago before we started counting pitches. Just asking! :)

    • godewey
      godewey 1 year ago

      it’s hard to know if it’s just more accepted now or if we are just babying the pitchers. Japanese pitchers throw an incredible amount of pitches from the
      time they start playing baseball as youngsters. They don’t have the same number of injuries but how many are still effective when they get a little older.
      I would like to see the numbers . For instance Dice K was 25 or so i believe
      when he signed but his arm was probably over 30.
      He did think his injuries had to do with how MLB treats their pitchers.
      I sure don’t know the answer as to which way is better.

      • burnboll 1 year ago

        I think the one extra rest day does a lot for the Japanese pitchers being able to recover properly.

        Mark buehrle doesn’t pitch between games, and has got a tremendous consistency.

        • godewey
          godewey 1 year ago

          every pitcher is different but they all get treated the same.
          doesn’t make sense. i don’t think there is enough talent
          for every team to have a six man rotation. pitching, warming up, pitching in between starts, after while it has to have an effect. I do think japan takes it to the extreme even if half the
          stories you here are true

    • Guest 1 year ago

      Tom Verducci recently wrote an article for SI, suggesting it’s happening more because teenagers — whose bodies may not be developed enough to handle the strain — throw at a much higher velocity than ever before, and that it’s compounded by the year-round tournaments/showcases they pitch in.

      He also pointed out that of the 20-odd pitchers who’ve had, or are about to have, TJ surgery this year, only 2 of them (Rondon and Nova) were from Latin America. And that might be because young pitchers there generally don’t grow into their velocity until they’re a bit older, or pitch in showcases year-round.

      It’s worth a read. If you do a web search for ‘verducci SI young pitchers’, it should come right up.

  7. Denny Doyle 1 year ago

    I’ve been hearing a lot that Yankees are “all set” and have “7 starters”. I guess we get to find out sooner than expected.

  8. burnboll 1 year ago

    My guess is that it’s Nuno Vidal, not the other way around.

  9. burnboll 1 year ago

    My guess is that it’s Nuno Vidal, not the other way around.

  10. LazerTown 1 year ago

    Pineda will miss 1 start. So far it seems like they will be in the thick of it, along with every other team in the AL East.

  11. $21621694 1 year ago

    Just like lawyers charge their clients who have no case, and politicians care more about money and personal gain than for their people, and teachers teach regardless if their students learn or not. Who knew the world could be so cruel

  12. Runtime 1 year ago

    To be honest, the pitcher could have been born with a bummed ligament and the replacement could be significantly better. Think about it: these guys are still people.

    Just playing devil’s advocate.

  13. $21621694 1 year ago

    Or that. My point is pitchers did not go down as easily before TJ was invented or even a few years ago for that matter

  14. burnboll 1 year ago

    I would say hell miss two starts. It’s a ten game suspension.

  15. LazerTown 1 year ago

    Not really with how their schedule plays out, their off day will take his spot this time around, and then he can start the day after his suspension ends.

    24 CC

    25 Kuroda

    26 Nuno

    27 Tanaka

    28 OFF DAY

    29 CC

    30 Kuroda

    1 Nuno

    2 Tanaka


    4 CC

    5 Pineda Eligible again, and it just pushes their rotation back a day.

  16. burnboll 1 year ago

    Thanks broski. Didn’t think of it that way. Keep it realz…

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