As you already know, baseball is a team sport.
The greatest teams are made up of players who keep their egos in check by setting aside personal desires, and living by the motto, whatever it takes to make the team better.
This means putting the team first by simply asking one question every time you have to make a decision.
What is in the best interest of the team?
For example if something doesn’t feel right it is a player’s obligation to speak up so he doesn’t jeopardize his team’s chances of winning.
No doubt nobody is perfect, but if something feels physically off…you STOP.
Nova’s decision to start on Saturday vs. the Rays is a good example of how not to be a team player.
Did his decision result in the Yankees losing to the Rays, 16-1?
Not totally, as theoretically Nova was only tagged for eight of the Rays runs.
But a starting pitcher sets the tone of the game, so by giving up four homers, and eight earned runs in under four innings pitched is not exactly close to ideal.
Nova gave up two homers to the first two Detroit batters when he should have never made the start to begin with. He admitted that his arm felt off before the game but wanted to try.
The Yankees lost the game, 3-2 and the 2011 ALCS.
Look I know that last night’s game and the 2011 ALCS could have happened even if Nova admitted to being hurt, but that is not the point.
Being part of a team entails doing whatever it takes to put the team in the best place to win.
Nova is not a rookie; he has been in the Major Leagues for five seasons and obviously is proving again to be completely selfish.
Nova has been diagnosed with a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament, which is a serious injury that likely will need Tommy John surgery.
This is not the type of injury that happens off a single throw, as it is damage caused by repetitive overuse such as the throwing motion of a pitcher. So it is almost inevitable that a pitcher would feel tenderness along the inside of their elbow at the least.
Speaking from personal experience, elbow injuries typically do not just pop out of thin air without enduring some serious and sudden impact.
It seems that Nova’s desire to continue his career comes before the Yankees winning.
Nova had to know something was off, and he should have acknowledged it from the get-go. It could have saved him from missing what looks like a significant amount of time, and the Yankees from losing a starting pitcher too.
Call me whatever you want, but I hope this last outing proves to be a huge wake-up call for the Yankees about Nova and his future in the Bronx.