Thursday, March 17, 2011

Super Nova?; Taveras Stars for Comeback Rockies

Players of the Day for Wednesday, March 16, 2011

American League

Ivan Nova
Maybe those die-hard Yankee fans can breathe a little easier over their starting rotation worries, now that Ivan Nova set down the Baltimore Orioles for six straight innings without allowing a hit or a walk. Nova struck out four batters en route to his first win of the exhibition season as the Yankees clobbered Baltimore, 10-0.

Technically a rookie, Nova worked 42 innings with the Yanks in 2010, but did not exceed the 50-inning limit that determines rookie status. In his late-season stint, Nova started seven games and went 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA.

The young hurler was in a perfect groove except for a hit batsman in the first inning and Alex Rodriguez' muff off an Adam Jones ground ball in the 4th. Despite the superlative effort, manager Joe Girardi hedged on whether or not Nova would be in the starting rotation when the regular season commences, saying he wasn't ready to make any decisions.

Competition for the 4th and 5th starting job are a battle between Nova and Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Sergio Mitre.

In the loss, the only Baltimore hit was by Vladimir Guerrero, who doubled off Mariano Rivera in the seventh inning, a blemish that may give the Yankee worriers something new to whine about.

National League

Willy Taveras
The Colorado Rockies rallied from a 9-2 deficit to defeat the reigning Al champion Texas Rangers, 11-10, as the Rangers' pitching collapsed in the latter stages of the game.

Colorado scored three runs in the top of the ninth to complete the comeback win. Ty Wigginton and Jason Giambi were among four hitter who homered for the Rockies, but fleet center fielder Willy Taveras was a force, going 3-for-4, driving in three runs.

An old hand in Colorado, Taveras stole 99 bases in 2007-2008 for the Rockies before spending 2009 in Cincinnati and last season with the Nationals. Injuries kept him out of all but 27 games last season, but he's tuning up well this Spring, with a .317 batting average and 5 steals in 15 games.

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