I often lament the lack of interesting nicknames in baseball compared to decades ago, so this note from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post makes me very happy:
Drew Storen overmatched all thee hitters he faced, striking out two and getting a ground ball using only 11 pitches. Afterward, [manager Davey] Johnson coined a nickname for Storen based his proclivity for toying with his delivery.
“I’m going to start calling him Tinkerbell,” Johnson said. “He comes in with all kinds of different little moves. Once the game started, he looked good.”
Odds are that nickname has absolutely zero chance of sticking, but once upon a time in baseball history “Tinkerbell Storen” would be a viable thing to call a pitcher and … well, I think we’d all be better off if things were a little more like that again. All except the guy being called Tinkerbell, of course.
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.