The story of Pete Rose's corked bat

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One of Pete Rose’s old lackeys — Tommy Gioiosa — told the world many years ago that Rose corked his bats.  Based on everything we knew about the guy at the time: that he was a risk-taker, a pathological competitor and a guy who viewed rules as something less than mild suggestions, it wasn’t hard to believe him.

But now there’s proof of it, in the form of one of Charlie Hustle’s bats from his 1985 chase of Ty Cobb, cork and all. It comes along with a story of the bat’s history over at Deadspin today that is some good readin’.

So: even if we get Rose un-banned, is everyone still comfortable with him making the Hall of Fame? Or does the old unlevel playing field argument apply only to steroids?

UPDATEHere’s a lot more on Pete Rose and the corked bat, including my response to your comments about how corked bats aren’t supposed to help anybody.

Nathan Eovaldi to make 2018 debut for Rays soon

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Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.

Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.

When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.

The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.