Nathan Eovaldi is another step closer to returning to the Boston Red Sox after completing his first rehab start with the WooSox.
The right-hander, who's been on the injured list since June 12 due to a lower back inflammation, took the mound Sunday vs. the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. He had mixed results in his three innings of work.
Eovaldi allowed two runs on five hits while striking out four batters and walking none. One of his earned runs came on a solo homer in the second inning.
He finished with 55 pitches thrown, 39 for strikes.
It's unclear whether Eovaldi will pitch again for Worcester before returning to Boston, but he seems to believe he's ready to come off the IL.
"Oh yeah. I mean, I don't know yet, but I feel comfortable with it," he told MassLive.com's Katie Morrison. "I know it's been a quick ramp up, but I feel really good. I know what I need to work on and accomplish. I think I'm ready if they say something."
Barring any setbacks, the Red Sox pitching staff finally will begin to get much-needed reinforcements. Right-hander Garrett Whitlock also completed his first rehab assignment in Worcester on Friday, though he will head back to the bullpen when he returns to Boston. Veteran southpaw Chris Sale is set to make his season debut Tuesday in Tampa Bay.
Unfortunately for Boston, it recently lost righty Michael Wacha to the IL (right shoulder inflammation) and left-hander Rich Hill remains sidelined with a knee issue.
Eovaldi posted a 4-2 record and 3.16 ERA in 12 starts before his injury.