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Nova has partially torn UCL

Ivan Nova has a partially torn UCL and could need to undergo Tommy John surgery.
Ivan Nova has a partially torn UCL and could need to undergo Tommy John surgery.
Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – An initial MRI after Saturday’s game revealed that New York Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Nova was removed from Saturday’s 16-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth inning, when bench coach Tony Pena noticed him shake his right arm after throwing a pitch.

"I was watching every pitch, and I saw it right away," Pena told reporters on Saturday night. "It was funny the way he delivered the ball. And then he started to shake his arm. So I said to Joe, 'Go check this guy out.' If we see anything different from what they normally do, I have to say something."

Girardi did go check Nova out, and the right-hander said his elbow hurt, but he wanted to stay in the game. Girardi immediately told him he was done and turned to reliever Matt Daley.

The Yankees placed Nova on the 15-day disabled list, one of three roster moves by the Yankees on Sunday. He will be further evaluated on Monday in New York by Dr. Chris Ahmad, but it seems likely that Tommy John surgery could be in his future. In talking to reporters prior to Sunday’s game, Nova seemed somewhat encouraged.

“It’s not (torn) all the way?” Nova said. “So that’s not too bad, I guess. I know it’s not good, but if it’s not all the way, it’s not too bad. That’s what I think.”

No plans have been made yet to fill Nova’s spot in the rotation, though one would have to believe that Sunday’s starter, Vidal Nuno, is one of the leading candidates. David Phelps, who nearly won the final spot in the rotation out of spring training, has not thrown more than 36 pitches in a game this season, and likely is not stretched out enough to fill the role.

Dan is Examiner.com’s beat writer for the New York Yankees and the Trenton Thunder. Follow him on Twitter at @danpfeiffer74 for all the latest New York Yankees news.