R.A. Dickey is back from Mount Kilimanjaro

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R.A. Dickey returned to the United States on Tuesday after successfully reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro last week.

Dickey’s former teammate and current Rockies right-hander Kevin Slowey and Mets bullpen catcher Dave Raccaniello also participated in the climb, which was part of an effort to raise money and awareness for the Bombay Teen Challenge, an organization dedicated to helping victims of sex trafficking in India.

You’ll recall that the Mets sent a letter to Dickey prior to the climb reminding him that they could void his contract in the event that he suffers an injury. Well, they quickly made amends with the knuckleballer once it was clear he was out of harm’s way. Dickey told David Waldstein of the New York Times that the group surpassed their goal of raising $100,000 with the help of a donation from Mets’ CEO Jeff Wilpon.

“He offered his congratulations and made a generous contribution,” Dickey said. “I understood their concerns, and I thought it was a great gesture on their part to help out in the end.”

Well done all around. While the immediate future doesn’t look very promising for the Mets, they are pretty darn fortunate to have someone like Dickey representing the organization.

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.