Warren excels vs. Tigers while Nova struggles during rehab start
By Grace Raynor
NEW YORK -- Ivan Nova is working back to full strength from Tommy John surgery and has completed three Minor League rehab starts, which leaves Yankees manager Joe Girardi with the task of deciding who should get bumped from the rotation when Nova returns to the big leagues.
Adam Warren, who tossed eight innings of two-run ball in the Yankees' 7-2 win against the Tigers on Friday night, is making that decision a tough one.
The eight innings pitched were a career high for Warren, and he matched a career high with seven strikeouts. There is speculation that Warren could be the one heading to the bullpen when Nova returns, since Warren was a reliever in 2013 and '14.
But on Friday night -- a night when Nova struggled for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre -- Girardi was uncertain of what the decision will be on the rotation.
"Let's just worry about tomorrow," he said.
But what he was sure of was Warren's performance.
"I thought he was outstanding," Girardi said. "It was as good as he's been all year, and we pushed him. And he was outstanding."
Nova allowed seven hits over five innings with five runs, two walks, four strikeouts and one hit batter Friday night for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Warren, on the other hand, collected his sixth quality start in his last seven outings.
The uncertainty of what is to come isn't something that Warren is thinking about.
"I try to stay focused, take one day at a time and not think about what's going on beyond what I can control," he said. "I really just focused on the game plan tonight and wasn't thinking about anything else."
Part of that game plan was to ensure that the Yankees got the victory on a night when Alex Rodriguez recorded his 3,000th career hit.
And though Warren struggled a bit in the inning following Rodriguez's milestone -- surrendering both of his runs in the second inning -- eventually he found a way to settle down.
"That's such a neat thing. I was talking to CC [Sabathia] in the top of the ninth and we were talking about how so many guys play baseball and only a few have hit 3,000," Warren said. "I just wanted to make the night about him. Trying to get a win made it even better, made it even more exciting."
Catcher John Ryan Murphy said he enjoys working with Warren because their personalities match up nicely and their relationship is an easy one. That's why on Friday night, when the attention was focused on Rodriguez and his milestone, Murphy took a moment to reflect on Warren and his impact, too.
"He deserves it. He's been working really hard and he deserves it," Murphy said. "He's a gem."
Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.