Brad Lidge had been pitching in extended spring training down in Clearwater, but he’s on his way back to Philly now due to a setback: elbow soreness.
You’ll recall that the reason he’s on the DL in the first place is a strain of his rotator cuff in his right shoulder, so this is a new problem. Not a terribly worrisome one to the Phillies yet, however, because Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro are saying that it’s a common thing. Maybe an overcompensation injury? They’re going to check him out today, however, to see what’s what.
While that may mean that it’s a while before Lidge is back in action, his role has been filled quite nicely by Ryan Madson, who is 12-for-12 with a 0.64 ERA in save situations. Madson will remain the closer no matter what happens with Lidge, so the implication here is late season bullpen depth more than anything.
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.