4/26/2014 2:37 A.M. ET
Nuno eager to prove he can stick in rotation
By Danny Knobler / Special to MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Vidal Nuno, who is replacing the injured Ivan Nova in the Yankees' rotation, understands that he is getting a big chance to prove himself.
"It's a big step," said Nuno, who has made just four big league starts. "It's trying to stick, trying to produce and trying to get people out."
The 26-year-old Nuno pitched five scoreless innings against the Rays in St. Petersburg on Sunday, but at that point, it was just a spot start because the Yankees played a doubleheader earlier in the week and didn't want to pitch anyone else on short rest. This time, there's an actual spot in the rotation that has Nuno's name on it.
"It's nice to have a routine, to have regular bullpen sessions," Nuno said.
Nuno appreciates any opportunity he gets. The 48th-round Draft pick of the Indians in 2009 was never considered a big prospect.
One reason for that, Nuno said, is that he weighed only 145 pounds in high school, and his fastball topped out at 83 mph. The 5-foot-11 Nuno has steadily put on weight and strength since then, to the point that he now weighs 210 pounds and his fastball this season has averaged 88.7 mph, according to Fangraphs.
Jeter endorses adjustment of transfer rule
NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter has been part of 1,372 double plays in his Major League career. You'd figure he knows what he's doing.
He did, until the transfer rule.
"It made it very uncomfortable to try to turn a double play," Jeter said on Friday.
Jeter applauded Major League Baseball's decision to clarify the rule, and in effect to return it to the way it was called before this season.
"I'm happy," Jeter said. "That was a tough one to enforce."
Until the rule was clarified on Friday, umpires (and replay officials) were ruling that a catch didn't count unless the player took the ball out of his glove cleanly.
"It sounds funny, but literally it was, 'Catch it, hold it, make sure you don't drop it [and then throw],'" Jeter said. "It appeared a lot of people were taking it step by step."
Yankees ready to send Ryan on rehab stint
NEW YORK -- Yankees infielder Brendan Ryan, on the disabled list since Spring Training with a cervical spinal nerve injury, is scheduled to begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Sunday with Class A Advanced Tampa.
Ryan has been playing in extended spring games, so manager Joe Girardi said it shouldn't take him too long to be ready to join the Major League team. Girardi said he thinks Ryan has had about 20 at-bats in extended spring. The Yankees would like him to get about 50 before he returns, and they would also like to see him play on back-to-back days.
"I don't imagine it'll be too long," Girardi said.
With no reason to wait, Nova set for surgery
NEW YORK -- For Ivan Nova, the decision to have Tommy John surgery was fairly clear.
"I really had no choice," Nova said on Friday. "There's no reason to be wasting time."
The partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in Nova's right elbow was diagnosed after he left his start last Saturday against the Rays in St. Petersburg complaining of pain. The Yankees announced on Thursday that the right-hander will be having Tommy John surgery on Tuesday in Birmingham, Ala.
"It's hard, but I think it's the right way," Nova said.
• Girardi named David Phelps as the Yankees' starter for Wednesday's game against the Mariners. New York had to slot Phelps in for one game next week while Michael Pineda is serving his suspension for using a foreign substance.
• Ratings for Yankees games on the YES Network are up 38 percent from year to year, the network announced on Friday. Thursday's Yankees-Red Sox telecast averaged a 4.75 TV HH rating (467,000 total viewers) in the New York area, making it the second-highest-rated YES telecast this season, behind Masahiro Tanaka's April 4 Major League debut.
• Brian McCann became the sixth Yankees player to appear in a game at first base this year when he played there in the ninth inning of Thursday night's 14-5 win at Boston. It was the first time McCann had appeared in a professional game at any defensive position other than catcher, although he told Girardi he had played first base while in high school. McCann played two more innings at first in Friday's 13-1 loss.
• Brett Gardner's strange box-score line on Thursday (four runs scored, no hits) was a true Yankees rarity. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Gardner was just the second Yankee in history to score four runs in a game during which he didn't have a hit. It hadn't happened in 101 years, since Bert Daniels did it in 1913 in a game in Detroit. Various players from other teams have scored four runs without a hit since then, most recently Carlos Pena with the 2012 Rays.
Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.