BOSTON (CBS) — Nathan Eovaldi is set to become the closer of the Boston Red Sox. But first, he had to put in a little work down in the minors.
And what an interesting inning of work that was. Eovaldi came out of the bullpen to pitch the second inning for the Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday, and pitched himself out of a jam against the Louisville Bats.
Eovalid’s afternoon started off well, as he struck out Aristides Aquino on five pitches. He then walked Alex Blandino on a full count, who advanced to second on a passed ball by Pawtucket catcher Oscar Hernandez. Blandino was given third base after Eovaldi was charged with a balk.
But that is where Blandino would stay as Eovaldi bounced back to strike out the next two batters, getting Narciso Cook swinging and Chadwick Tromp looking to get out of the jam. His scoreless inning was not without a little drama, so he’ll fit right into Boston’s bullpen mix this season.
Eovaldi threw 19 pitches in his inning of work, 11 of which went for strikes. His fastball hit 98 MPH on the radar gun and he got two of his strikeouts off his curveball.
The righty has been on the shelf since April when he had loose bodies removed from his throwing elbow. His next move will be to the back of the Boston bullpen, where he’ll assume the role of closer. As long as Eovaldi feels good after Thursday’s stint in Pawtucket, he’ll be activated for this weekend’s series against the Orioles in Baltimore.