While the rest of his teammates floundered their way to a third straight loss last night, Ivan Nova was busy taking another step towards finally rejoining them. Nova made his second MiL rehab start last night, this one for the Triple-A SWB RailRiders, and it's more than fair to say that the second start was better than the first. Capped at 85 pitches, Nova only needed 73 to get through 6 innings. He allowed 1 run on 5 hits with 3 strikeouts and 1 walk. The 1 run came on a solo home run, and overall Nova threw 50 strikes in his 73 in-game pitches before heading to the bullpen to throw the last 12.
The Yankees, specifically Joe, have gone out of their way this week to say that Nova wasn't DEFINITELY going to be activated after this start, but all signs point to that. They need to see how Nova feels today and probably tomorrow to make sure no discomfort pops up anywhere in his arm, but the team's need for pitching help is too great right now. They've got a rotation that can't/doesn't pitch deep into games and a bullpen that's down to Dellin Betances, a couple competent lefties, and a bunch of garbage. However the Yankees choose to use him, Nova can help those problems in some capacity.
Nova's velocity has consistently hit the mid-90s since he started throwing in games again, and the reports on his command make it sound like he's got a pretty good feel for all his pitches. If he's feeling good, there's really no reason not to call him up anymore. Expect that talk to intensify over the next few days and a decision to come sometime early next week.