After yesterday’s bad news about Ivan Nova, the New York Yankees have a hole in the rotation to fill. But manager Joe Girardi said last night that Vidal Nuno will be the man to fill that hole, at least for now. “He’s our fifth starter.” said Girardi. The young 26-year-old left hander has earned the job, but it’s not going to be an easy job.
Nuno was low-A pitcher for most of his career, and almost decided to hang up the cleats a few years back. But the Yankee scouts saw something in him, and in 2012 he joined the Yankee farm system. A revived Nuno worked his way up to Triple-A Scranton in 2013 and eventually onto the 40-man roster. During last year’s injury ravaged season he made his first appearance in pinstripes. Nuno made a few spot starts for the team in 2013, going 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts. He also made two relief appearances, pitching a total of 20 innings last year.
Nuno started Sunday’s game against the Rays and pitched very well. He tossed five scoreless innings, giving up only three hits, two walks and striking out six. Since Cesar Cabral has been sent back down to Scranton, the Yankees now only have lefty specialist Matt Thornton in the pen. Nuno started the season with the team as the second lefty, mainly being used as the long man. Girardi will now have to be careful as to when he decides to use Thornton. For now David Phelps, Adam Warren, Dellin Betances and Shawn Kelley will continue to hold things down and get the ball to David Robertson when needed. The rest of the rotation will also have to step it up, with Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda pitching like they’re top tier aces, things are looking good at the back end.
Nuno brings a completely different look to the rotation, and adds another lefty into the mix for Girardi to use against opponents. He’s not an overpowering pitching but has several pitches he can work with, including a two-seam and four-seam fastball. Also has a slider, pretty good curveball and uses an occasional change-up. Nuno’s next start will come on Saturday at home against the Los Angeles Angels. This year he is 0-0 in four appearances, one start and has a 6.75 ERA over 9.1 innings pitched.