Barry Zito expected to make scheduled start Sunday

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Barry Zito threw off flat ground yesterday and is expected to make his scheduled start Sunday against the Dodgers, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.

Zito was involved in a two-car accident Wednesday night while driving his rented Cadillac in Los Angeles. While he walked away with a stiff neck, he said yesterday that things could have been a lot worse if his instincts didn’t take over.

“If I didn’t make a decision to hit the gas when I saw him, he would’ve hit the front of the car. Then it’d be a whole different story. “… It’s a scary sound, you know? Just to hear metal on metal crunching.

“Overall, I feel a whole lot better today than yesterday. I expect it to feel even better tomorrow.”

Zito underwent an MRI on Thursday morning which thankfully came back normal. While he continues to receive treatment, he was able to throw all of his pitches out of his windup yesterday. He looks like a go for Sunday.

Zito, 32, posted a 4.15 ERA over 199 1/3 innings last season. He is still owed $65 million through the 2013 season.

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.