Along with activating Joe Blanton from the disabled list for tonight’s start the Phillies have also juggled their rotation, lining up Cole Hamels to pitch Friday because Roy Oswalt is now aiming to return next Tuesday.
Oswalt was initially penciled in to pitch this Friday, with Vance Worley waiting in the wings as the fill-in if needed, but apparently the Phillies don’t believe his back problems will have subsided by then and opted to alter the rotation instead.
Between his back injury and leaving the team to be with his family after the tornadoes in Mississippi, Oswalt hasn’t pitched since lasting just three innings in a loss to the Diamondbacks on April 26.
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.