UPDATE: Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports that X-rays came back clean and Mejia is dealing with inflammation. No word yet on his status for the Opening Day roster.
9:47 a.m ET: Mets right-hander Jenrry Mejia has made a strong case for a rotation spot this spring, but a comebacker could put him on the outside looking in.
Mejia left last night’s exhibition game against the Blue Jays at Olympic Stadium after he was hit in the right forearm with a ball off the bat of Ryan Goins in the bottom of the fifth inning. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the initial diagnosis is a forearm bruise, but he was sent to a local hospital to undergo X-rays.
Mets manager Terry Collins appeared to be leaning toward starting Mejia in the fourth game of the season next Friday against the Reds, but Daisuke Matsuzaka would get the spot if a trip to the disabled list is necessary. That’s not ideal, as Matsuzaka is viewed as insurance in case Jon Niese isn’t able to make his season debut next Sunday. Niese has been slowed with minor shoulder and elbow issues during spring training.
Mejia allowed one run over four-plus innings before his early exit last night and owns a 2.70 ERA and 13/6 K/BB ratio over 13 1/3 innings this spring.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.