Slump could knock Nova off postseason roster

The SportsXchange

Ivan Nova's up-and-down season continued Thursday, as he took the loss with 4 2/3 innings of four-run ball in the Toronto Blue Jays' 6-0 win over the New York Yankees.

Nova, who had pitched one good game and one poor one since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 15, fell to 12-8 on the season, including a 2-5 mark since the All-Star break.

"I think I'm working on everything possible to pitch good, to throw strikes, to get people out," Nova said. "Unfortunately, this year has been really bad for me, but I'm not quitting. I gotta keep fighting."

Nova was actually pleased with his curveball Thursday night, but his slider was not sharp and his fastball command was spotty, leading to his second consecutive start in which he failed to get through five innings -- something he was able to do in each of his first 26 outings.

"He just hasn't had the command," manager Joe Girardi said. "That's where it all starts for every pitcher that walks out on that mound. You have to be sharp, or clubs are going to score runs on you."

Nova is unlikely to make the postseason rotation, as CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes are essentially locked in, but the 25-year-old right-hander may be in danger of being left off the roster altogether thanks to his inexperience with pitching out of the bullpen.

"I want to be on the roster," Nova said. "I want to help the team to win games in any position. I just want to be there."
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