Reds and manager Dusty Baker agree to two-year contract

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Dusty Baker and the Reds have agreed to a two-year contract, the team announced this afternoon.

Baker’s deal expired once the Reds were knocked out of the playoffs by the Giants last week. He’s been Cincinnati’s manager since 2008, during which time the Reds are 419-391 (.517) and have made the playoff twice, losing in the NLDS both times.

This season Baker led the Reds to a 97-65 record that was second-best in the NL behind the Nationals and the best in team history since the back-to-back World Series winners in 1975 and 1976 won 108 and 102 games.

Baker missed some time down the stretch after suffering a mini-stroke, but the 63-year-old made it clear that he planned to continue managing.

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.