Miguel Cabrera is in the best shape of his life

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UPDATE:  In addition to saying that Miguel Cabrera was going to have the biggest year of his life — see below — Jim Leyland just threw one right into my wheelhouse.  Jeff Passan is on the scene passing quotes along:

“Miguel Cabrera is in the best shape of his life. He’s stronger than he’s ever been. And he’s quicker than he’s ever been.”

The BSOML meme is officially broken.  I can’t write about it with a straight face anymore. Well, I probably still will, but I’ll never top Leyland.  Leyland went on to say this about Cabrera’s arrest:

“It has no effect. It might make some dramatic reading material. It’s not going to do shit. Believe me. Nothing.”

I laud Leyland for having his player’s back. But that’s a bridge too far. Cabrera may have a good season because, after all, he’s a great player.  But the man also has a serious problem with alcohol, and that’s not nothing. There will be an effect. There has to be, because Miguel Cabrera needs to change his life.

9:06 A.M.: Jim Leyland spoke to reporters this morning. I would not have guessed beforehand that this is something he’d say about Miguel Cabrera

“he’s probably going to have the biggest year of his life”

Well, it has certainly started out with a bang.

Although I suppose it’s entirely possible too.  If there is any bright side at all to this — and yes, I realize I’m reaching — it’s that this happened just as spring training is getting underway.  There are obviously major issues to deal with here — this was not a case of one too many beers at the barbecue — but he has a month and a half in which his primary job is to focus on physical conditioning. And those around him, including Leyland, the front office, teammates and other, have more time to help him get his head right than they would if the routines of the regular season were underway.

At least that’s the hope.

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.