The Astros are for sale

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Mark Cuban and Jim Crane, please call your office . . .

Astros owner Drayton McLane has retained the services of the investment bank Allen & Company to assist in the sale of the team, according to two people with knowledge of the arrangement.

McLane, who could not be reached for comment Thursday night, has owned the Astros since 1992. Having entertained on and off for at least a couple of years the idea of selling, he has ramped up efforts recently.

McLane has toyed with selling the Astros in the past, but you don’t hire an investment bank if you’re toying.  He really wants to sell this time.  Maury has more details over at the Biz of Baseball. The upshot, though: McLane wants around $800 million. Any purchase of the team would include a stake in the newly created regional sports network CSN Houston.  Bonus: no one is bankrupt this time, so any sale would likely take less than nine months and multiple rounds of litigation.

Which means this won’t be much fun at all, sadly.

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.