Nathan Eovaldi As Opener? ‘Good Chance’ It Happens Vs. Indians, Alex Cora Says

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Nathan Eovaldi’s wild 2019 ride likely will return him to the Boston Red Sox’s starting rotation Wednesday — sort of.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Tuesday on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM that Eovaldi very well could serve as the club’s “opener” in Wednesday’s series finale with the Cleveland Indians.

“We might go with Nate as an opener,” Cora said. “We’ll see how it goes — or with Brian (Johnson). Obviously, on Thursday, there’s an off-day. We’re going with Rick (Porcello) on Friday and Eduardo (Rodriguez) on Saturday, and then we’ll decide what we’re gonna do on Sunday.”

Cora didn’t specify how long Eovaldi would go — best guess is a couple of innings or so, it would seem — or who would follow Eovaldi out of the bullpen, but Johnson seems like a potential candidate.

In order for Cora to follow through with the plan, however, he’ll likely need a strong outing from Chris Sale on Tuesday night to rest the bullpen.

“But I do feel the schedule finally this season is our friend to be creative,” Cora said. “Most likely, if everything goes well, Chris goes seven … and then we can give the ball to (Brandon Workman) and only use two guys, and if that happens, there’s a good chance Nate will open up tomorrow and we’ll go from there.”

The first season of Eovaldi’s new four-year contract with the Red Sox has been a forgettable one. The 29-year-old never really was able to get in a groove after starting the season in the rotation. An early-season arm injury derailed his entire campaign. Eovaldi underwent surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow and then suffered a setback in his return after experiencing biceps tendinitis.

As he finally neared his return, the Red Sox announced Eovaldi would work out of the bullpen. That’s been a major struggle for the hard-throwing right-hander, who has allowed eight earned runs in nine appearances since returning.

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