3/3/2014 6:25 P.M. ET
Nova's control on display vs. Nationals
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Right-hander Ivan Nova arrived at camp with several goals tucked safely away in his mind. He doesn't want to reveal some of them, but here are two: He wants to be more consistent, and he wants to win another World Series ring.
"I just want to be a pitcher that the team can trust every five days," Nova said. "I just want to do my job every five days. That's one of the goals that I really want, that I want to be consistent. I think I can do that and be really good."
Nova focused on his control in his second spring start on Monday, and he was near-pinpoint. He threw 31 of 35 pitches for strikes in New York's 4-2 win over Washington, walking none and striking out four.
"It's great. Today I had better control than what I had my first start," he said. "I was trying to attack the strike zone, trying not to walk anybody."
Nova was so economical, he had to go to the bullpen after he'd been removed from the game to throw about 10 more pitches. He was especially pleased by a couple of breaking balls that broke fast and short, looking like fastballs before diving out of the strike zone.
"It's a great curveball. It's a great 12-to-6," said catcher Brian McCann. "When he's throwing that for strikes and he's working down in the zone with that two-seamer, his stuff is as good as it gets."
Nova is likely to begin the season as the No. 3 or No. 4 starter, depending on how the Yankees want to slot right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, but McCann believes that Nova is destined for even greater things.
"There is no ceiling on a guy like him," McCann said. "He can do whatever he wants. If he gets into a groove, he can ride it out for a full season. Certain things click and players take their game to another level. He's looking really good down here."
Tex takes another step toward game action
TAMPA, Fla. -- First baseman Mark Teixeira said that it was "pretty uneventful" to stand in against live pitching on Monday morning, but as he inches back toward game action, each step is an important one.
Teixeira took three swings from each side of the plate on the main field at George M. Steinbrenner Field, facing left-hander Manny Banuelos and right-hander Jose Campos. He ended the session with a solid single to left off Banuelos.
"I wish I'd gotten a little more work, but we'll get more work the next time I'm out there," Teixeira said.
Teixeira has not had any issues with his surgically repaired right wrist, but hitting left-handed is his main concern since the right hand is the bottom hand from that side.
"In BP I've been swinging hard, but BP swings and game swings are totally different when you've got a guy throwing 90-plus [mph]," he said. "I didn't get any inside pitches, which I was hoping for today, but we'll get more work in, and I'm sure it will keep getting better."
The Yankees plan to have Teixeira take batting practice again on Tuesday, then he will rest on Wednesday before making his spring debut on Thursday against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla. Outfielder Alfonso Soriano is also scheduled to play in that game after being sidelined early due to illness.
"I feel pretty good. We've been here over two weeks now, and the wrist is getting stronger," Teixeira said. "That's the biggest thing. It needs to get stronger. The bat speed is pretty good. We'll keep building up, and hopefully on April 1 it's feeling really good and the swing's feeling really good and I'm ready to roll."
Pettitte insists he's staying retired this time
TAMPA, Fla. -- Andy Pettitte stood in front of the Yankees' dugout at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Monday morning, saying that he was excited to be back in camp as a special guest instructor. He then insisted that his pitching days are over.
If this all sounds familiar, it's because Pettitte said nearly the same words in the exact spot two springs ago, a short while before he announced that he was coming out of retirement to rejoin the rotation.
This time, Pettitte promises that he can be believed.
"I'm not planning on anything happening, that's for sure," Pettitte said. "I was talking to [general manager Brian Cashman], and Cash said, 'You didn't throw an early bullpen this morning, did you?' I said no. There's nothing in the works, I promise y'all. It's been good. I'm just enjoying being home."
Pettitte is ready to toss batting practice but is only staying in camp until Wednesday; his schedule is being filled by baseball tournaments back home in Texas, where his son Jared will be lacing up his spikes later this week.
"His wife gave him a roundtrip ticket this time," manager Joe Girardi said. "Didn't leave it open-ended."
Having announced his retirement (again) last September, Pettitte said that his quiet offseason reinforced his certainty that the time was right to call it a career.
"I never was going crazy worrying about wanting to get ready for the season," he said. "I was never there. I just feel like I'm at the age where I'm just one little [injury] away from being out for the whole season. I'm not able to be all in. Now I just want to be around the kids."
Shortly after Derek Jeter announced his plan to retire, Pettitte sent a text to his fellow Core Four member, ribbing the captain about having kept one of his good buddies in the dark.
"I was kind of giving him a hard time, like, 'Man, appreciate the heads-up,'" Pettitte said. "He didn't let me know. He goes, 'You knew, dude.' So it was a little bit of a surprise, there was no doubt, but it wasn't a huge surprise to me."
Pettitte said that sharing the last days of Mariano Rivera's farewell tour provided him with "some of the coolest moments of my career," and Pettitte is eager to see how Jeter is received around the league as he plays out his final big league campaign.
"I think he'll downplay it, of course," he said. "I don't think he likes a lot of attention, but I think he needs to be honest. What a great player, one of the greatest players, obviously, of the last 20 years. It'll be good."
• Jeter is scheduled to serve as the designated hitter in Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. ET game against the Orioles at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Jeter played on Monday and had been on an every-other-day schedule, but filling the DH role will allow him to avoid making a long trip for Wednesday's game against the Rays in Port Charlotte, Fla.
• Banuelos is moving closer to pitching in an exhibition game, Girardi said. Banuelos threw batting practice along with Campos on Monday, and is "a little closer" to games than Campos, according to Girardi.
• New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan visited with Girardi during Monday's game, sitting in the box seats near the first-base dugout. Girardi said that they talked about the Jets' plans for the upcoming NFL Draft.