Nathan Eovaldi will not make his next scheduled start for the Red Sox on Tuesday, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne) in Williamsport, Pa. earlier Sunday afternoon.
Eovaldi, who had his last turn through the rotation skipped because of a sore right trapezius muscle, has not bounced back the way the Red Sox were hoping and will therefore not be available for Tuesday’s series opener against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park. It remains to be seen if he will require a stint on the injured list.
“Nate is not going to start on Tuesday,” Cora said. “He hasn’t been able to bounce back in the same area, the trap, kind of, like, in there. IL, we don’t know yet. But he won’t start on Tuesday. That’s where we’re at.”
Eovaldi last pitched against the Yankees on August 12, allowing two runs on eight hits, two walks, and three strikeouts over six innings of work. The veteran right-hander also flashed diminished velocity, averaging just 94.4 mph with his four-seam fastball, which was down from his yearly average of 95.9 mph.
When it was revealed that Eovaldi would not start against the Pirates last Thursday, the 32-year-old hurler said he first experienced the soreness around his right trap a few days after his most-recent outing. He also indicated that, if it were up to him, he could have pitched in Pittsburgh.
“But we’re playing it safe,” said Eovaldi, via The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. “I’m just going to skip this turn and be ready to go Tuesday against Toronto.”
That will no longer be the case, though Eovaldi remains optimistic he can avoid the injured list.
“It’s frustrating. I feel like it’s going a little slower than we anticipated but I’m feeling a lot better,” Eovaldi told Browne on Sunday. “Every day, it’s just how can we make sure that I’m 100 percent especially going down the road for this next stretch. That’s the main goal, to avoid [the IL].”
Fellow right-hander Josh Winckowski wound up starting in Eovaldi’s place on Thursday and got rocked for seven runs over five innings. The 24-year-old rookie was optioned to Triple-A Worcester that same night.
Earlier this season, Eovaldi spent more than a month on the injured list due to low back inflammation. Since returning on July 15, he has posted a 6.32 ERA and 4.43 FIP with 24 strikeouts to eight walks over his last six starts and 31 1/3 innings. That includes a 2.95 ERA in the month of August.
If Eovaldi winds up going on the injured list again, Winckowski would be a logical choice to replace him in Boston’s starting rotation. Although he was only optioned three days ago, Winckowski can be recalled at any time as long as he is replacing an injured player. In this case, that would be Eovaldi.
(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)