TB@NYY: Girardi discusses Nova's solid performance

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was probably going to take an injury for Ivan Nova to get back into the rotation, and that unfortunate set of circumstances struck on Tuesday, when Hiroki Kuroda was sent to New York for an MRI on his ailing left hip flexor.

Kuroda was scratched from his scheduled start against the Orioles on Friday, a turn that will now be taken by Nova.

"Of course, you don't want [anyone] to get hurt, but what can I do?" Nova said. "I've just got to take advantage of the opportunity that God gave me right now. It's not the way that you want to be pitching, but there's nothing I can do."

Nova's last outing came in relief, against the Orioles on June 29, when he pitched 5 2/3 innings of solid two-run, six-hit ball to mop up after a rough outing by David Phelps.

Friday will mark Nova's first start since he went into the rotation for a spot start on June 23, when he held Tampa Bay to three runs and seven hits over 6 2/3 innings in a 3-1 loss.

Nova feels as though he is always auditioning for more work.

"It's not good. I don't feel good the way I am right now," he said. "I don't know when I'm pitching [until] somebody gets hurt. It's not the spot I want to be in, but it's something that I can't control."

Nova was in the rotation in April before being demoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He accepts responsibility for his problems, and he is motivated to work his way back to prominence.

"I can say that I put myself in this position," he said. "I wasn't pitching good enough in the second half last year, and the way I started [2013] wasn't good. I did put myself in this position."

Yanks sign infielder Cruz, place Nix on disabled list

SD@LAD: Cruz rips double to right to score Schumaker

MINNEAPOLIS -- Luis Cruz filled his Tuesday afternoon by walking around Disneyland. He'll spend his Wednesday night playing shortstop for the Yankees.

The former Dodgers infielder, 29, signed a Major League contract on Wednesday and immediately found his name in the lineup, batting eighth against the Twins at Target Field.

"I feel happy wearing this uniform," Cruz said. "I think it's like a dream for any player to play for the Yankees."

In a corresponding roster move, the Yankees placed infielder Jayson Nix on the 15-day disabled list after an MRI performed on Wednesday revealed a Grade 2 strain of his right hamstring.

"Nixy's tough and he plays through a lot of stuff," manager Joe Girardi said. "He didn't necessarily want to go on the DL. We just felt that no one we've ever had that's had a Grade 2 has ever not gone on the DL. It's awful risky, and you risk making it [linger for] a long time."

Cruz struggled this season with the Dodgers, batting .127 with a .175 on-base percentage and .169 slugging percentage in 45 games. He was designated for assignment on June 28 and opted to become a free agent rather than report to Triple-A.

"I had too many things in my head at the beginning of the season, outside baseball," Cruz said. "I'm ready to go now."

Cruz said that he let his agent, John Boggs, handle the negotiations with the Yankees while he spent the day in Anaheim, celebrating his son's third birthday. Late on Tuesday, Boggs called, telling him to join the club in Minneapolis.

Cruz is hoping that joining the Yankees will help him approach the production he showed with the Dodgers last year, when he batted .297 with six homers and 40 RBIs in 78 games.

"I think, for me, it's like a new start," he said. "I just want to help this team win, hit some balls hard and pick every ball at shortstop."

The Yankees have needed plenty of help at shortstop. Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez and, now, Nix have all been lost to injuries, and Reid Brignac and Alberto Gonzalez have also been given starts at the position.

"We've had a variety, right?" Girardi said. "It's not what you predict when you go into a year, but sometimes you've got to make do."

Bombers bits

• The Yankees signed 16-year-old Dominican shortstop prospect Yonauris Rodriguez for $550,000 on Wednesday.

• Eduardo Nunez is eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday, but manager Joe Girardi indicated that Nunez will need more time on his Minor League rehab assignment. Nunez is currently playing alongside Alex Rodriguez at Class A Charleston.

• Girardi has not received an update on Derek Jeter, who remains at the club's complex in Tampa, Fla., but he believes that Jeter is getting closer to beginning a Minor League rehab assignment.

• On this date in 1922, Bob Meusel hit for the cycle in a 9-3 win over Philadelphia. He is the only player to hit for the cycle three times as a member of the Yankees.