Alex Rodriguez says Jose Reyes is “world’s greatest player”

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ESPNNewYork.com got the juicy quote from Alex Rodriguez today, asking him how he feels about Jose Reyes and the Mets.

“They have the world’s greatest player playing shortstop over there, and the most exciting,” Rodriguez said. “I turn on the TV every time I get a chance to watch him.”

And Reyes’ response:

“I appreciate that from him. But that’s something that, it’s not going to go to my head,” he said. “But I appreciate that, that he said that. He’s a good friend of mine too, Alex. So it’s good, man. He’s one of the best players in the game. So I appreciate it.”

Of course, A-Rod’s comment could be portrayed as a dig at Derek Jeter.  That’s what happened two years ago, when, at the World Baseball Classic, A-Rod said of Reyes: “I wish he was leading off on our team or playing on our team, that’s fun to watch.”

Rodriguez later had to apologize because of the play the comment got in New York.  This one, though, should hardly be taken as a shot at Jeter, because it’s just laughable to even put Jeter and Reyes in the same league given the performance of both this year.  In 2009, Jeter vs. Reyes was a legitimate argument and A-Rod’s commented was fuel for the fire.

In 2011, A-Rod isn’t comparing Reyes to anyone on the Yankees, because there’s simply no one else like him in New York.

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.