Cliff Lee, though understated, is a character. He famously shrugged off making an important catch in the first game of the 2009 World Series. He never looks more excited than when he’s in the batter’s box and subsequently able to run the bases. You can add retrieving food from the stands to the list.
While he was in the on-deck circle taking warm-up cuts in the top of the seventh inning during tonight’s game with the Brewers, he walked towards the fans next to the dugout and took a Twizzler from a fan wearing a Brewers jersey. The Twizzler, however, did not grant Lee any magical powers as he grounded out for the second out of the inning, and ended up forking over his two-run lead in the bottom half of the seventh.
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.