Adam Dunn homers twice, knocks in six against Royals

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Adam Dunn never homered off a left-handed pitcher last year. Today, he hit two in three at-bats off Royals southpaw Bruce Chen.

Dunn delivered a two-run homer in the first and a grand slam in the fifth inning, giving him four homers in 24 at-bats this spring. He’s struck out just once and walked nine times.

After signing a big four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox, Dunn turned in one of the worst seasons in recent history in 2011, hitting .159/.292/.277 with 11 homers and 42 RBI in 415 at-bats. He was 6-for-94, good for a .064 average, against southpaws.

Obviously, a strong March isn’t making up for that, but it is looking like the White Sox will get to see the real Dunn this year. Even more than the four homers, it’s the one strikeout in 11 games that may be the most encouraging sign. Dunn struck out 27 times while hitting .224 in 67 at-bats last spring.

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.