Like most of the Red Sox starting rotation early this season, it's been a struggle for Nathan Eovaldi (6.00 ERA, 1.524 WHIP) through his first four starts.
Now we likely know why.
The Red Sox placed Eovaldi on the 10-day injured list with a loose body in the right elbow, retroactive to April 18. It's the same injury that caused Eovaldi to miss the first two months of the season last year before the Red Sox acquired him at the trade deadline from the Tampa Bay Rays. He didn't make his first start until May 30 after he had surgery at the end of March to remove loose bodies from the elbow.
However, Eovaldi does not seem worried about the idea of another surgery.
Nathan Eovaldi very calm and confident that, if he needs surgery, it’ll be an easy process. Said he was throwing in two weeks post surgery last year. Rays took it extra cautious since he was coming off Tommy John so he was out two months total but thinks he could be back quicker.— Jason Mastrodonato (@JMastrodonato) April 20, 2019
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters, including Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, in St. Petersburg that Eovaldi will see a specialist in New York on Monday. to determine if surgery is needed. He was unable to stretch his arm out because of where the loose bodies are in his elbow. The 29-year-old has also twice undergone Tommy John surgery.
To take his roster spot, the Red Sox have called up left-handed reliever Bobby Poyner from Triple-A Pawtucket. Eovaldi pitched well in his last start, going six innings and allowing one run against the Yankees on Wednesday night. The Yanks rallied to win 5-3 on Brett Gardner's grand slam off Ryan Brasier.
The Sox have used Hector Velasquez as a spot starter in the rotation already this season, so he'd be a good candidate to take Eovaldi's turn Monday against the Detroit Tigers when the team returns home from this trip.
Eovaldi, of course, was a postseason hero for the Red Sox last year, famously throwing 97 pitches in a six-plus inning relief effort before allowing Max Muncy's walk-off home run in the 18th inning to end the longest Series game ever in a 3-2 Sox loss in Game 3. He had a 1.61 ERA in six postseason appearances, including two starts, last fall. He parlayed that into a four-year, $68 million contract he signed in the offseason to remain in Boston.
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