Nuno isn't just trying to pitch the Yankees to a win and rebound from the 13-1 loss they suffered at the hands of the Angels on Friday night, but Nuno is pitching for his future with the team.
Nuno was inserted into the rotation after it was determined that Ivan Nova needed Tommy John Surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow and would be forced to miss the remainder of the 2014 season. On Easter Sunday, Nuno pitched five scoreless innings and left with a 1-0 lead against the Tampa Bay Rays, a start that showed he earned another opportunity to get a start for the Yankees.
Now on Saturday, Nuno's been given that opportunity and it's up to him if he dictates what the Yankees do this summer. If Nuno struggles to be an effective starter for the Yankees, there's a decent chance that Brian Cashman is picking up the phone and calling around the league to see if starting pitchers are available; Cliff Lee from the Philadelphia Phillies has already been discussed as a potential trade candidate.
The Yankees are already in first place and look like they can be a playoff contender, but if they don't get strong outings from their pitching staff and from someone like Nuno, it's going to force Cashman's hand this summer and trade away potential prospects in order to bring back starters.
But if Nuno can pitch like he's done in the past and give the Yankees length and quality innings going forward; something that starts on Saturday against the Angels, then maybe the Yankees won't have to make a deal in the summer. Maybe they'll trust their young starters to help them win in the regular season and potentially, pitch in October baseball if they get that far.
Sure, thinking about October baseball is a bit premature, but for Nuno, he's pitching to show that he belongs with the Yankees. By pitching the way he did against the Rays and doing that against the Angels, it would be the first step in showing that he does in fact, belong in the Bronx.
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