Alex Cora knew he wanted Nathan Eovaldi back in a Red Sox uniform before his gutsy Game 3 World Series performance when the Boston pitcher hurled six-plus innings in extras before giving up a walk-off home run.

The right-hander was acquired by the Red Sox in July via a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and proved to be a staple in the rotation, tossing 15 shutout innings over his first two starts. Though he came back down to earth and even struggled a bit toward the end of the regular season, Eovaldi shined when it mattered most and helped lead the Sox to their fourth World Series title in 15 seasons.

“We wanted him back even before what he did in October,” Cora said, via MassLive. “He’s a good pitcher. He’s healthy. He went through his injuries and all that but everything is fine. That’s the good thing. He was with us. So we knew everything about his shoulder and back, everything. His elbow, everything. We were pretty sure he was one of those guys we wanted back and have in that rotation.”

Boston and Eovaldi came to terms on a four-year, $68 million contract after he posted a 1.61 ERA in October.

“Stuff-wise, he’s one of the best in the big leagues,” Cora added. “The way he pitched toward the end, he found a few things about himself. We learned a lot about him. He should have a solid season.”

The Red Sox’s rotation already consists of Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez, so locking up Eovaldi certainly makes Boston’s starting pitchers a threat to batters.

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