Jose Contreras out 4-6 weeks; Phillies may pursue Heath Bell

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Jose Contreras joined Brad Lidge on the disabled list, with Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia writing that he’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a strained forearm, and ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports that “the Phillies are asking around about bullpen help.”

Olney doesn’t get into specifics about who’re they’re “asking around about” yet, but did write that Padres closer Heath Bell is “one name to keep an eye on for Philadelphia.”

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said recently that the Phillies aren’t going to make a big splash at the trade deadline this year, in part because their payroll is maxed out, but obviously that could change or the Padres could eat the $3 million or so Bell is owed for the second half.

Bell is an impending free agent and the Padres are in last place at 32-44, so unless they plan to re-sign him to multi-year contract for elite closer money it would certainly make sense for San Diego to cash him in for prospects by July 31. In fact, with Bell, Mike Adams, and Chad Qualls the Padres should probably be the first call every contending team makes in their search for veteran bullpen help.

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.