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Nova 'really happy' with outing, progress

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JUPITER, Fla. -- Ivan Nova continues to progress in his quest to solidify his spot in the Yankees' 2013 rotation, as well as to put a disappointing 2012 behind him.

Nova pitched three innings in a 7-6 loss to the Cardinals, allowing a run on three hits -- all of them ground-ball singles. He struck out two and walked one. Nova threw 45 pitches, 27 strikes.

For a pitcher who, at his best, relies on throwing strikes and getting ground balls, it was an encouraging outing.

"I feel so happy," Nova said. "I'm getting back in shape, and I feel so good. I threw three innings. I feel really good, like I did last time. I was throwing strikes today."

Nova got off to a solid start in 2012 but faded badly in the second half. He posted a 7.05 ERA after the All-Star break and did not make an appearance for the Yankees in the postseason.

Matthew Leach is a writer for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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