BOSTON (CBS) — When Nathan Eovaldi returns to the Red Sox, he’ll do so as the team’s closer. But first, the righty has to go on a rehab assignment.
That assignment will finally begin this week, according to Boston manager Alex Cora. Eovaldi will likely pitch for Boston’s Triple-A affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox, as long as Mother Nature cooperates.
“He is most likely going to go on a rehab assignment either Wednesday or Thursday, weather permitted,” Cora said Monday. “He threw 25 pitches today. He looked really good. Let’s see how he bounces back. If he’s OK, then that’s the next step.”
Eovaldi, 29, has been on the injured list since April when he underwent surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow, and he’s also dealt with a biceps strain during his stint on the IL. He threw a simulated game on Monday, tossing 25 pitches while facing a pair of batters at Fenway Park.
“My arm feels great now,” Eovaldi told WEEI’s Rob Bradford. “I felt like the command was a little rusty but everything coming out felt really good. … It’s been good. I felt like I transitioned a lot better than I thought I would. I haven’t been getting as sore as I thought I would, as well. I would say it has been pretty good.”
Eovaldi has spent the bulk of his eight-year career as a starter but does have some experience out of the bullpen, including four stellar relief appearances for the Red Sox during last postseason’s run to a World Series title. The Red Sox seem confident that he can bring some stability to the back of their bullpen, which has blown 18 saves so far this season.
Boston acquired right-handed starter Andrew Cashner over the weekend to take over as their No. 5 starter, allowing them to move Eovaldi to the bullpen upon his return. Cashner is set to make his Boston debut Tuesday night against the Blue Jays.