The Red Sox activated right-hander Nathan Eovaldi from the 60-day injured list, per an official announcement on Saturday. It’s been a long road back to the mound for Eovaldi, who has been sidelined since mid-April after undergoing elbow surgery and rehabbing a bout of biceps soreness.
Prior to the setback, the 29-year-old righty pitched just 21 innings for the club in 2019. He carried a 6.00 ERA, 4.7 BB/9, and 6.9 SO/9 through his first four starts of the year, hardly indicative of the sub-4.00 ERA and 2.0+ fWAR he produced with the Rays and Red Sox in 2018.
Whether or not he can return to those totals remains to be seen, but it doesn’t look like the club intends to place any significant expectations on the veteran starter so soon after his recovery. According to comments made by manager Alex Cora, Eovaldi won’t slot into a starting or closing role with the team, as they’re currently set at both ends with a rotation of Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodríguez, and Andrew Cashner, and a closer in the form of Brandon Workman. Instead, he’ll likely pivot to a relief role for the time being, for use in “high-leverage situations.”
In a corresponding move, right-hander Ryan Weber was bumped off the 25-man roster and optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Weber, 28, had a tough time during his most recent stint with the team, closing out two losses and allowing four runs, a walk, and three strikeouts over just 4 2/3 innings of relief.
The Los Angeles Times reports that federal agents have interviewed at least six current and former Angels players as part of their investigation into the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Among the players questioned: Andrew Heaney, Noé Ramirez, Trevor Cahill, and Matt Harvey. An industry source tells NBC Sports that the interviews by federal agents are part of simultaneous investigations into Skaggs’ death by United States Attorneys in both Texas and California.
There has been no suggestion that the players are under criminal scrutiny or are suspected of using opioids. Rather, they are witnesses to the ongoing investigation and their statements have been sought to shed light on drug use by Skaggs and the procurement of illegal drugs by him and others in and around the club.
Skaggs asphyxiated while under the influence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his Texas hotel room on July 1. This past weekend, ESPN reported that Eric Kay, the Los Angeles Angels’ Director of Communications, knew that Skaggs was an Oxycontin addict, is an addict himself, and purchased opioids for Skaggs and used them with him on multiple occasions. Kay has told DEA agents that, apart from Skaggs, at least five other Angels players are opioid users and that other Angels officials knew of Skaggs’ use. The Angels have denied Kay’s allegations.
In some ways this all resembles what happened in Pittsburgh in the 1980s, when multiple players were interviewed and subsequently called as witnesses in prosecutions that came to be known as the Pittsburgh Drug Trials. There, no baseball players were charged with crimes in connection with what was found to be a cocaine epidemic inside Major League clubhouses, but their presence as witnesses caused the prosecutions to be national news for weeks and months on end.