Marlins catcher John Baker to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Marlins starting catcher John Baker has been out since mid-May with an elbow injury and after suffering a setback while rehabbing in the minors last week Dr. James Andrews has determined that he needs Tommy John surgery.
The good news for Baker is that position players tend to come back from Tommy John surgery much sooner than pitchers. The bad news is that being a catcher who can’t afford to have problems throwing complicates that and either way he’s likely to miss a big chunk of next season.
“Super frustrating, but at least I can move forward,” Baker told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. “I’m really happy to put this behind me and move forward. It’s been a rough year for me.”
Baker has been sidelined for over three months already, backup Ronny Paulino was recently suspended 50 games for performance-enhancing drugs, and third-stringer Brett Hayes is out with a separated shoulder thanks to Nyjer Morgan, so the Marlins have signed 35-year-old Mike Rivera just to provide some catching depth for the final month.

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.