Bad news from Orlando: Doctors were unable to save Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar’s left eye. They had put off surgery on it until yesterday to allow swelling to go down, but the damage, it seems, was just too extensive.
This is awful, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not the worst thing in the world. When that foul ball went into the dugout there were serious concerns that Salazar could die or have brain damage. As it stands, however, Salazar is expected to be released from the hospital today to recuperate at home and it is expected that he will be back at the work as the Braves’ single-A manager down in Lynchburg in four to six weeks.
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.