In choosing Mike Matheny as their new manager the Cardinals may have guaranteed that Terry Francona won’t be in a dugout on Opening Day.
There’s been some speculation about his interest in the Cubs’ opening, but nothing indicates he’s actually a candidate in Chicago and no other gigs are available. Well, except for his old job in Boston.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes that “it seems unlikely Francona would become a bench coach” and “could work for a team as a scout or consultant while waiting for something to open up.” Television is also a possibility, particularly after Francona did so well subbing for Tim McCarver on FOX during the playoffs.
And of course not starting the season as a manager doesn’t rule out ending the season as a manager. Given his experience and success Francona would seemingly be an obvious choice to step in should a contender fire its manager in the middle of the season and it’s easy to imagine his availability causing a team to drop their current guy earlier than they normally might. If he wants to manage again it’s tough to think Francona will be out of work for long.
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.