Ivan Nova was brilliant yesterday, and the credit goes to the new grip on his slider:
When Ivan Nova pitched for the Yankees late last season, his slider grip unleashed a pitch that acted like a flat curveball. After Toronto’s Jose Bautista bashed it for a home run, Nova scrapped the grip. But he never gave up on the pitch, and on Wednesday night it helped his bid to land a spot in the rotation.
I have not been shy in my disdain for Nova's rotation chances, but this is an example of the double edged sword of prospect development, and part of the reason I think all pitching prospects should spend a season in the pen, whether they're rotation candidates or not.
Nova would probably never have realized that his old slider grip was garbage in the minor leagues. Sure, it would have gotten knocked out of a couple of parks over the course of a season. But he probably would have recorded many outs with it because of the hitters' inexperience and the low level of scouting and video. At the big league level, however, he's learned an important lesson.
And to Nova's credit, he made an important adjustment. For his sake, and for the Yankees, I hope he can continue this success.
Gut-wrenching news from Atlanta, where doctors were unable to save the left eye of Luis Salazar, who was struck in the face by a Brian McCann line drive in the dugout earlier this spring.
I applauded when teams around the league put those railings and screens in the dugout, and when MLB ordered base coaches to wear the helmet hats a few seasons ago.
I don't know what could have been done differently this time, but I find injuries to the coaches especially unsettling.
Here's the next round of cuts out of Tampa:
Andrew Brackman, Brandon Laird, Kevin Russo and Melky Mesa were optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Steve Garrison and Ryan Pope were optioned to Double-A Trenton.
If those players stay assigned to those levels, it would mean Melky jumps from A+ to AAA, Garrison goes from AAA to AA, and a third season in Trenton for Pope.
Long story short, these assignments are not final.