When Cardinals closer Jason Motte went down late last month after a poor spring, the team termed his injury a “mild strain” in his right elbow. Following a followup MRI on Tuesday, things sound much more ominous:
With young gun Trevor Rosenthal and interim closer Mitchell Boggs in the fold and plenty of bullpen depth, the Cardinals are pretty well set up to handle Motte’s absence. Not to say that he won’t be missed. The 30-year-old Motte has posted ERAs under 3.00 three straight seasons, and he finished with 42 saves in 49 chances last year. Plus, the news comes right on the heels of Boggs giving up seven runs in what had been a tie game with the Reds on Monday.
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.