As expected, the Rockies have activated Dexter Fowler from the disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A instead of bringing the center fielder back to the big-league roster.
Fowler’s abdominal injury actually kept him from being demoted to Triple-A last month and since then the Rockies have repeatedly talked about the switch-hitter needing to improve his swing from the left side of the plate, to the point that the reporters covering the team have taken that weakness as gospel despite Fowler actually hitting better from the left side last season.
The bigger problem is that Fowler has hit just .225 with a .646 OPS in 172 career games away from Coors Field. He’s a prime candidate to be traded before July 31, but in the meantime he’s an injury away from returning to Colorado in at least a part-time role.
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.