White Sox: Ivan Nova Relishing in Veteran Starting Pitcher Role
White Sox acquired the veteran pitcher in an offseason trade and he is appearing to fill the role of veteran starter in their rotation similar to a previous pitcher.
For the past two seasons and a half, the White Sox have had a veteran presence in their starting rotation in James Shields. Although Shields didn’t have a stellar stint with the Sox in the record books, he was able to impart some knowledge of the game onto younger pitchers while in Chicago.
Entering this upcoming season, the pitcher that will be filling the void left by Shields will be Ivan Nova. Earlier in the offseason, there was an article written about the importance of the Sox filling the void left by Shields for the 2019 season. Some Sox fans might not think Shields’ void in the starting rotation is that important to fill, but having a veteran that can help young pitchers develop is helpful.
Nova was acquired in an offseason trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates and not only has valuable veteran experience, but he also has postseason experience similar to Shields. Nova’s experience has already gotten young pitchers like Lucas Giolito excited to work with him. Giolito benefitted from his relationship with Shields and according to Vinnie Duber at NBC Sports Chicago, he’s ready to pick Nova’s brain this season.
"“Just like Shields last year, having a guiding force. And not just him, we picked up a few guys. I’m just in the beginning stages of meeting them, getting to know them. But, yeah, just having a few guys like that who can guide us in the right direction. Young guys, we’re kind of all over the place sometimes. So guys that can keep us grounded and keep us locked in and kind of show us the way about being a professional, being a big leaguer.” Lucas Giolito"
While Giolito has expressed excitement over picking the brain of Nova, the veteran right-handed pitcher mentioned he’s quite different from a person who steps up and commands a clubhouse. The 32-year-old has pitched nine major league seasons and has developed his own approach to helping younger players.
"“If I’ve got to approach somebody, I’ll do it my way. I’m not a type of guy that’s going to step up in front of everybody and say something. I don’t like to get involved in anyone’s personal space. But if I’ve got to say something to someone, I’m going to grab them aside and do it that way.” Ivan Nova"
Shields veteran presence might not be in the Sox clubhouse anymore, but Nova appears to have filled the void he left. The Sox front office might not be done making additions to the starting rotation, but Nova’s addition could prove to be very beneficial as this upcoming season progresses.