TORONTO -- Ivan Nova expects to start for the Yankees on Saturday against the Reds at the Stadium. Manager Joe Girardi said the right-hander’s progress getting over a bruised and twisted right ankle is moving forward.
Yet, Girardi won’t know for sure if Nova can start until Nova finishes a pregame warmup in the bullpen.
“I think it’s a big step,’’ Girardi said of Nova completing a bullpen session Thursday. “We will see how he is [Friday] and Saturday. It’s good he is going in the right direction.’’
Despite saying he felt “it a little bit’’ Thursday, Nova is anticipating facing the Reds.
“I don’t think it will be a problem,’’ said Nova, who also simulated covering first base and pick-off moves yesterday.
YANKEES BOX SCORE
Nova finished the workout with a hard sprint. The right-hander suffered the injuries on separate plays Monday night in Baltimore. He pushed a between-starts bullpen session back a day to yesterday.
“We didn’t throw too many [pitches],’’ he said of the 25-pitch pen. “I am pitching in two days.’’
Girardi said if he needed David Phelps last night or tonight he wouldn’t hesitate to use the right-hander who would be the logical choice to fill in for Nova.
Andy Pettitte’s second start won’t have the attention or drama his first outing last Sunday had. He pitches Friday night against the Reds.
“There won’t be the anticipation of coming back and that will help,’’ Girardi said.
Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie dropped the appeal of his four-game suspension for hitting umpire Bill Miller with a thrown helmet Tuesday night and began serving it Thursday night. Lawrie played Wednesday night.
Yan Gomes started at third for the Blue Jays and made his major league debut. Gomes became the first Brazilian born player to appear in a major league game.
Eduardo Nunez’s re-entry into the world of being an every-day shortstop is on hold for three to four days, GM Brian Cashman said.
When Nunez was demoted to Triple-A Scranton / Wilkes-Barre last week, it was so he could return to being a regular shortstop instead of playing several positions in the big leagues.
Three games into that plan Nunez was forced to leave Wednesday night’s game bedcause of a thumb injury he suffered after leaving the Yankees.
“He has a problem at the base of the [right] thumb,’’ Cashman said. “He will be out three or four days.’’
In three games for SWB, Nunez is hitting .231.
Joe Girardi, Ivan Nova, Nova, Brett Lawrie, Girardi, David Phelps