The Tropicana Field catwalk strikes again

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And now your semi-annual reminder that Tropicana Field is really not fit for the playing of professional baseball games:

The Tampa Bay Rays’ second baseman hit a ball in the eighth inning of Sunday night’s game against Boston that broke a light on an overhanging catwalk down the third-base line. Parts of the light dropped to the playing surface in foul ground between third base and the Boston bullpen. No one was hit by the debris, which took around three minutes to clean up.

Three minutes in a nearly six-hour game doesn’t really make much of a difference, but man, it’s always wacky whenever we’re reminded that we have a major league ballpark that was built in such a way that it cannot properly accommodate batted baseballs.

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.