Texas pushed Tanner Scheppers into its injury wrecked rotation, making him the Opening Day starter without any starting experience in the majors. He pitched horribly and then got hurt, and now that he’s close to being healthy again the Rangers can’t decide what to do with him.
Scheppers had a ton of success as a reliever last year, posting a 1.88 ERA in 77 innings, but the Rangers’ rotation remains wrecked by injuries and they could certainly use another quality starter in the mix. Of course, Scheppers had a 9.82 ERA in four starts while showing decreased velocity before being shut down with an elbow injury.
T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that the Rangers “are at least planning to stretch out Scheppers during his rehabilitation assignment so they have the option of bringing him back as a starter.” And for whatever it’s worth, Scheppers has said repeatedly that he prefers to be a starter.
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.