Nova able to pace himself at Yankees' camp

Righty working way back from Tommy John, expects to rejoin club in May or June

Nova able to pace himself at Yankees' camp

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ivan Nova refuses to look too far ahead, resisting the urge thus far to peek at the schedule and circle some summer dates. As he continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery, the Yankees' right-hander has been absorbing his plans one week at a time.

"I'm just taking it day by day, and I know that a month before they think I'm going to be ready to go to the big leagues, they're going to tell me," Nova said. "So that's the time when I'm going to really prepare for that day."

Nova threw his third full bullpen of the spring on Tuesday, tossing 25 fastballs off a mound at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The Yankees are hoping to have the 28-year-old rejoin their rotation in late May or early June.

"I know they expect big things from me," Nova said. "I know I've had an up and down career so far, but I know what I'm able to do. I just have to put things straight and hopefully by the time I have everything in line, I can contribute to the team and win some games."

Limited to just four starts last year in which he posted an 8.27 ERA, Nova said that his right elbow had been creating issues for years. In 2011, Nova exited the deciding Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Tigers after just two innings with a tight forearm. At the time, the team said the injury was inflammation.

Nova escapes a jam

"I had a couple times when I went on the DL and had inflammation," Nova said. "They didn't really see exactly what was going on with the elbow; they said inflammation. I'm not a doctor, so if they show me the MRI, I'm not going to tell you this is what happened. I have to trust my doctors. They said inflammation, so that's what it is."

Nova said that he has been able to pace his spring work since there is no chance of being ready to make the Opening Day roster.

"One good thing, you know you're not going to be ready in April, so you prepare yourself to be ready whenever they tell me," Nova said. "I don't have to think right now that I've got to be ready in April, so that's kind of fortunate."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.