Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova hopes to throw off a mound soon, appears on track to return by June

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TAMPA, Florida — New York Yankees pitcher Ivan Nova hopes to throw off a mound soon for the first time since elbow ligament- replacement surgery.

The 28-year-old right-hander threw from 120 feet on flat ground Tuesday at the Yankees' minor league complex and appears on track to rejoin the team by June.

"To be honest, I feel like nothing happened," Nova said. "I don't feel any pain. I don't feel any tightness. Everything is going well so far."

Nova tore a ligament in his right elbow last April 19 during a game against Tampa Bay and had surgery 10 days later. Recovery time is usually 12-to-15 months.

"Just got to work hard, and it will pay off," Nova said. "I hope I can be better than I was. That's the goal."

Nova is 40-22 in parts of five major league seasons and has a $3.3 million, one-year contract for this year, the same salary he earned in 2014. He is eligible for free agency after the 2016 season.

Nova is looking forward to seeing Alex Rodriguez, who is due to start workouts with position players on Feb. 26. Rodriguez served a one-season suspension for violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract.

"He's our teammate. He's been a good teammate to me," Nova said.

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