SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — After Andy Pettitte said he was coming out of a one-year retirement on Friday to rejoin the New York Yankees, competition for their starting rotation grew tighter.

Ivan Nova didn’t help himself on Sunday night.

Nova allowed five runs in four innings and his hold on a spot in the Yankees’ rotation grew more tenuous with a 6-3 loss to a Baltimore Orioles split squad.

Nova, who was 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA as a rookie in 2011, has allowed 11 runs in 12 2/3 innings for a 7.82 spring ERA.

In the first inning, Nova allowed a three-run home run to Adam Jones, and then a batter later, Matt Wieters hit another one. He allowed a fifth run in the second inning.

“He just couldn’t get into a rhythm in the first two innings — and then he found it,” New York manager Joe Girardi said.

Nova gave up seven hits with his five runs in four innings. He struck out four.

When Pettitte signed a minor league deal, Nova’s place in the rotation became less secure. He is already competing with Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes and Michael Pineda for spots in back of CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda.

Nova was annoyed that he didn’t shake off catcher Gustavo Molina’s call on the first home run and blamed himself for the second homer.

“I don’t want to get into those situations, I called him and said I thought it was the wrong pitch,” Nova said. “That’s the game.”

Girardi said that Nova has to call his own game.

“You have to take charge,” Girardi said. “If you make a pitch, you better have conviction.”

Alfredo Simon started for the Orioles and left after two innings with a groin injury.

“They asked me if I hurt myself a little bit — and I said, yes, I feel strong, but in the second inning I tweaked my groin, so I stopped, and they’re going to see what’s going on.”

Manager Buck Showalter didn’t like how Simon was throwing in the second inning, and didn’t let him come out for a third. Simon was supposed to throw between 60 and 65 pitches, but only threw about half that.

“He said it was a little tight. He didn’t feel comfortable about pushing off. He said he was fine to pitch, and I really didn’t like that scenario,” Showalter said. “We had arms. He may have continued during the season. We’ll see where he are on it on Tuesday.”

NOTES: Yankees 2B Robinson Cano was hit on the left hand when he was struck out by Baltimore LHP Troy Patton in the sixth inning. Girardi said X-rays were negative, and that the team would evaluate him on Tuesday. New York 1B Mark Teixeira had his first extra-base hit of the spring — a second-inning double. Yankees 3B Bill Hall was hit in the hit by a 76 mph change-up by Simon in the second inning. Orioles LHP Zach Britton was scratched from Monday’s scheduled appearance in a minor league game because of shoulder stiffness. “He came up a little sore,” Showalter said. Baltimore OF Endy Chavez went 3 for 4. He’s batting .462. Wieters’ home run was his first RBI of the spring. Both teams are off on Monday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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