Incredibly enough, the Padres have scored 43 runs in their last four games. Still, they’re giving Orlando Hudson his first career start in the cleanup spot Tuesday against the Mets.
Never in his life has Hudson batted from the fourth spot in the order, even in his appearances off the bench. His previous 1,165 starts break down like this:
Batting 2nd: 414
Batting 3rd: 239
Batting 8th: 193
Batting 7th: 144
Batting 9th: 82
Batting 6th: 53
Batting 1st: 23
Batting 5th: 17
Batting 4th: 0
Hudson brings a .239/.332/.320 line, three homers and 27 RBI in 259 at-bats with him into tonight’s game. That the Mets are throwing a left-hander in Chris Capuano is undoubtedly part of the reason Bud Black has decided to hit Hudson fourth tonight. All three of the switch-hitter’s homers have come against southpaws, and his slugging percentage skyrockets to .386 when he’s batting from the right side.
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.