TAMPA, Fla. -- Ivan Nova understands that he does not have the luxury of a guaranteed rotation spot, but as the Yankees right-hander eyes a bounce-back campaign in his second year removed from Tommy John surgery, he has made his preference clear.
"I'm a starting pitcher; I'm not a reliever," Nova said on Thursday. "But like I say, it's their decision. Whatever they tell me to do, that's what I've got to do. Maybe I can feel bad going into the bullpen, but what does that change? Nothing, I've still got to go to the bullpen."
The 29-year-old Nova avoided arbitration last month by agreeing to a one-year, $4.1 million contract that marks his final season under team control, and he said that if his time in pinstripes is running short, he'd like to depart on a high note.
"You know, I'm a free agent after this year," Nova said. "If I leave the Yankees one day -- hopefully I never leave the Yankees, but if I leave the Yankees one day -- I want to leave with a championship. That's the goal."
Nova was 6-11 with a 5.07 ERA in 17 starts after returning from the disabled list in June, having had Tommy John surgery performed on April 29, 2014. His 11 losses were a career high, but he has not used the recovery from his procedure as an excuse.
"Whatever happened last year, it wasn't because of the Tommy John. I didn't pitch good," Nova said. "If I was feeling pain or tired or anything like that, I'm going to say I don't feel good. I'm not going to start. I'm sure that they're going to believe me because you're coming back from Tommy John. I felt good the whole time. I just didn't pitch good."
Nova plans to review video of his pitch sequences from last season in hopes of regaining the command that saw him go 35-16 with a 4.21 ERA in his first 75 career starts. His 16 losses through his first 75 starts in pinstripes were the fewest since David Cone (44-14), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"My career hasn't been like maybe a lot of people wanted it to be, having a good year every year," Nova said. "I've had some good moments, some bad moments. Like I say, that's in the past. I feel good enough to compete and good enough to do a good job."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.