Tommy John Surgery Recommended for Yankees’ Ivan Nova

Ivan Nova
New York Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy John surgery has been recommended to New York Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova, the team announced Tuesday, which would end the starter’s season and require a recovery time of between 12 to 18 months.

Nova suffered a partial tear in the collateral ligament in his right elbow against the Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth inning on Saturday, forcing him from the game. Tommy John surgery is usually the fix for that type of injury. Because of the recovery timeline, it’s likely Nova will miss not only the 2014 season but the early portion of 2015 as well.

“It’s unfortunate,” manager Joe Girardi said of the injury. “Obviously he has to make a decision now.”

Nova was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday and had his arm evaluated Monday. Girardi has yet to speak with his pitcher since learning the results of the MRI yesterday and said no decision has been made about his future plans or if he’ll explore other options other than the recommended procedure.

“I don’t know if he’ll go for another opinion or what he’ll do; that’s a player’s option,” Girardi said. “I’m sure it’s the last thing that he wanted to hear. Sometimes it takes a little time to sink in before you can make a decision, but that’s what our doctor recommended. We’ll wait to hear what his decision is.”

In four starts so far this season, Nova is 2-2 with an 8.27 ERA and 1.84 WHIP.  In his five-year career with New York, he is 40-22 with a 4.19 ERA. He is the latest in a pretty length line of starters to need Tommy John surgery, joining Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Jarrod Parker, Patrick Corbin and Matt Moore early on this baseball season.

Michael Pineda is expected to move up from the team’s No. 5 starter to take Nova’s No. 4 spot in the rotation. Moving into the No. 5 role will likely be Vidal Nuno, who pitched five scoreless innings as the Yankees’ emergency starter in the Yankees win over the Rays Sunday.

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