Carlos Gonzalez tests sprained finger by taking swings in cage

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The Rockies shut down Carlos Gonzalez earlier this month due to continued issues with a sprained middle finger on his right hand, but he is beginning to make some progress.

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, Gonzalez tested the finger earlier today by taking 30 swings in the cage. He plans to hit on the field tomorrow and could go out on a minor league rehab assignment soon if he continues to make progress. This would set him up for a potential return in September, giving him some peace of mind going into the offseason.

Gonzalez is batting .302/.367/.591 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, and 21 stolen bases in 103 games this season. He leads the National League with a .958 OPS.

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.