Nathan Eovaldi sure seems like he's close to coming back

Rob Bradford
July 15, 2019 - 8:55 pm

Mitch Moreland could have spent his day facing Triple-A pitchers while coming back from his quad injury. Instead, the Red Sox first baseman chose to square off with Nathan Eovaldi during the pitcher's live batting practice at Fenway Park Monday afternoon.

Bold choice.

"I swung against Nathan," said Moreland, clarifying the statement that he hit against Eovaldi. "I saw him throw a cutter and I'm like, 'Damn, how did I miss it? Then I thought, 'Oh yeah, he throws it 94 (mph).'"

Eovaldi certainly looked like a pitcher on the verge of returning to action, displaying a 100 mph fastball and wipeout breaking stuff in going up against Moreland and Sandy Leon. It certainly offered the kind of image both the Red Sox and the player were hoping for with a rehab assignment on tap for either Wednesday or Thursday.

"My arm feels great now," Eovaldi said. "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 is, of course, preparing for shorter stints as a member of the Red Sox bullpen, a role he is embracing while coming back from the elbow injury that has sidelined the righty since April 17.

"I just told AC (Red Sox manager Alex Cora) whatever I need to do to help the team," said Eovaldi, who did draw interest from teams in the offseason to sign as a reliever. "I’m not going to be that guy who comes back and say I can only start. I know where we’re at in the season and if I’m going to come back as a starter it’s going to be another month. I want to come back and contribute now and do what I can to help. Starting is not off the board or anything yet, but if I can help out in the pen I want to do so.

"It definitely helps going fast with all the rehab stuff. It’s just frustrating because when I first got hurt it was supposed to be a month and then it turned into two, three months now. I’ve been itching to get back out there. I’m excited to go out there and help the team."

Prior to his injury, Eovaldi made four starts, including his most recent appearance in which he one run over six innings against the Yankees.

For his career, he has made 12 relief appearances, including four during last season's playoffs. 

"I think it will be different when I get down there but I feel like having that mentality of going out there and attacking the hitters with everything you got for one inning and you’re ready to go the next inning," he noted.