Nova Ready for Opening Day

Pirates righty honored to start in Detroit.

Jeff Hathhorn
March 29, 2018 - 4:45 am
Ivan Nova

93.7 the Fan

Minutes before leaving Bradenton on Tuesday and eventually heading to Detroit, veteran Ivan Nova said it hit him, “next game is Opening Day”.

“I’m very honored,” Nova said.  “I going to get tired of saying I’m very honored.  I’m very excited, very happy for the opportunity.”

“I just like the experienced man taking the ball on the road in Detroit and getting after it,” said manager Clint Hurdle, “potentially having the opportunity to show them the way in Detroit in that series.”

Nova doesn’t get caught up in who is the first starter and who is the fifth.  The 31-year-old says he just likes being a part of this young rotation as Jameson Taillon is the next closest in age at 26.

“They are helping me,” Nova said.  “They make me a better person and a better teammate.  When I see the way the go about workouts, it makes me work out harder than ever.”

And he did, saying he didn’t change his routine this off-season, rather just did more reps and for a longer time.  The righty also believes this will help him feel fresh later in games and later in the season.

Nova has also developed into a leader for these young guys, mostly by example.  Saying he tries to be a good person on and off the field and instead of being on time, he shows up early.

“He leads like a veteran,” said Trevor Williams.  “He’s been there.  He’s done that.  He’s what we need with these four other guys.  He’s a guy that is ‘I will show you how to do it on the field and I will show you how to do it off the field’.  He’s very professional.  He’s a big leaguer in every sense of the word.”

 Taillon said before they do most things, they check with Nova.  If they want to leave early or need something, they ask Nova first.

“He doesn’t talk a lot,” said Francisco Cervelli.  “It’s just his presence.  When he is around people, they know Nova is there.  I think everybody is a leader in a different way.  This guy is going to handle all the kids in the rotation and make them believe they can do everything they want.”

Nova’s personality makes it upbeat for almost all who are around him.  The Dominican Republic native was a part of four playoff teams with the Yankees and believes this group has the right attitude to win.

“You can have a bunch of superstars, but if you don’t get along with your teammates.  If you don’t do right by your teammates, it’s going to be hard for any team to win a ballgame,” Nova said.  “The guys here have more fun than ever.”

Nova also said of what Pirates fans can expect from him and this 2018 team.

“Win, win, win, win every single day,” Nova said.  “The guys are hungry, they are positive.  We have a good atmosphere in the clubhouse, everyone is excited.  We are going to surprise a lot of people.”