After being sent out on a rehab assignment earlier in the day, Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi twirled a scoreless second inning for Triple-A Pawtucket in their game against the Louisville Bats, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, on Tuesday morning.
Seeing his first real in-game action since April 17th, the 29-year-old needed 19 pitches, 11 of which were strikes, to punch out the side on Tuesday. He also yielded a one-out walk and allowed that runner to advance to third on a passed ball and balk in consecutive order, but was able to strand said runner.
According to the PawSox’ Mike Monaco, Eovaldi topped out at 98 MPH with his four-seam fastball and 94 MPH with his cutter. Monaco also notes that Eovaldi got a pair of strikeouts looking on his curveball, a pitch he threw two times.
Placed on the 10-day injured list on April 20th and transferred to the 60-day IL on June 25th, Eovaldi underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies in his right elbow back in April.
The initial plan was for Eovaldi to rejoin the Red Sox rotation once healthy, but that changed earlier this month when manager Alex Cora announced that the righty would move to the bullpen.
Since Thursday appeared to go well for Eovaldi, the likeliest outcome is that he will be activated off the injured list sometime this weekend while the Sox are in Baltimore.
In eight career regular season appearances as a reliever, the Texas native is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA and .188 batting average against over 14 total innings pitched.
This past Saturday, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski likened Eovaldi’s return to a trade deadline acquisition, saying that, “We are going to add Nathan Eovaldi. For some reason, people seem to, not, like, grasp on to that. He’s a big addition for us coming and we feel he’ll be ready to go within about a week to join us on a full-time basis out there.”
Given where he is at, it will be interesting to see whether or not Cora uses Eovaldi in high-leverage situations out of the ‘pen immediately, or instead opts to ease his pitcher back into things.