A return appears to be imminent for Nathan Eovaldi.
The Boston Red Sox right-hander has been out since late April due to a procedure to remove loose bodies in his pitching elbow, but over the last few weeks he’s been ramping up the number of bullpens and simulated games he’s thrown. He took maybe the biggest step yet Thursday morning, throwing a relief inning with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Eovaldi looked pretty good, too. He pitched a hitless, scoreless inning, striking out three. He allowed one walk, with the runner ultimately moving to third on a passed ball and balk, but escaped the jam without issue.
The hard-throwing right-hander, once he returns, is being looked upon to help bolster a shaky bullpen — so when will that return be?
Not Friday, but maybe Saturday or Sunday.
“Not tomorrow, not tomorrow,” Sox manager Alex Cora said after the Red Sox’s win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “We’ll see how he bounces back. He’s actually flying with us to Baltimore, (so we’ll) see how he feels tomorrow and then we’ll make a decision.”
Eovaldi returned to Fenway Park after his inning with the PawSox, and he too addressed the media and provided an update on himself, giving a bit more specific of a timetable.
“I feel really good. Fastball felt good, cutter felt good. I didn’t throw any splits today, but I threw two curveballs and they felt really good coming out of the hand,” Eovaldi said. “I feel like I’ve gone through all the tests that I possibility can, so I feel like I’m ready to go. Mainly just use tomorrow as a recovery day and be ready to go either Saturday or Sunday.
“I’ve been bouncing back and feeling good after all my other outings and everything — the live BP’s and bullpens. So I guess (the medical staff will) just make sure nothing else pops up before tomorrow.”
The 29-year-old has been almost exclusively a starter in his career, so this will be a fairly new role for him. In eight regular-season relief appearances (14 innings) over his career, Eovaldi is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA, posting a 1.357 WHIP while limiting batters to a .188 average.
Thumbnail photo via Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports Images