February 28, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) New York Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova was fine and able to complete his batting practice session Sunday after being struck on the right thigh by a deflected liner hit by Aaron Judge.

Nova said the shot by the 6-foot-7, 255-pound Judge went off his glove first and ''didn't hit me too hard.''

''You don't want anyone doing it, but that's definitely not the first guy I'd pick,'' manager Joe Girardi said.

Nova, currently the odd-man out of the six pitchers in line for the regular-season rotation, and could end up in the bullpen. He is scheduled to start the Yankees' second spring training game Thursday against Philadelphia.

''I'm a starter, I feel like a starter,'' Nova said. ''At the end of the day, it's their decision.''

Luis Severino, who made his big league debut last season and went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts, will start Wednesday's spring training opener at Steinbrenner Field with Detroit.

''This is a young man who pitched extremely well,'' Girardi said. ''We have to see how he responds. He doesn't have a big body of work. Your expectation is he's going to be one of our starters.''

UNION TIME

Player's union boss Tony Clark held his annual spring training meeting with Yankees' players and reiterated that the union will protect and defend the rights of players being investigated by MLB under the sport's new domestic violence policy.

''We understand the topic, we appreciate the topic,'' Clark said. ''It is why we came up with a comprehensive policy that we think is much better than what we had in the past. But as it relates to our members, we will defend due process and our members at every stop.''

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman is under investigation for an incident at his house in Florida in October involving his girlfriend.

Prosecutors declined to file charges. Chapman has said he would appeal any suspension to baseball's arbitrator.

Clark doesn't know if potential sanctions could include spring training in addition to the regular season.

''Nothing is set in stone until the process one way or another is finished,'' Clark said.

Clark addressed the upcoming negotiations with MLB on a new collective bargaining agreement during the hour long meeting.

''I remain cautiously optimistic that we can continue the trend of fair and equitable while making improvements across the board,'' Clark said.

STARTING TIME

CC Sabathia will throw batting practice for the first time Monday. ... Masahiro Tanaka, who had a right elbow bone spur removed in October, threw 61 pitches during his fifth mound session and could soon throw to hitters. ... The Yankees are taking a slower approach with Nathan Eovaldi, who threw on flat ground and is scheduled for a bullpen session Tuesday.

NOTES: LF Brett Gardner (lingering left wrist bruise) expects to take batting practice in an indoor cage for the first time Tuesday. ... Chapman will throw batting practice for the first time Monday. ... DH Alex Rodriguez ran up the new conditioning hill on a back field after batting practice.

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