The Boston Red Sox have seen their starting rotation slowly get back to full strength. They’re hoping to get another boost with Nathan Eovaldi on the mend.
The Red Sox have seen their starting rotation go from a nightmare to a dream come true. With things still on rocky waters as far as the bullpen and offense are concerned, the starting rotation seems to be the constant. More good news will hopefully be on the horizon as righty fireballer Nathan Eovaldi is scheduled to throw a simulated game at the end of this week.
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Boston has been without Eovaldi since he opted for surgery to remove loose bone fragments in his elbow on April 23rd. It was reported this past weekend that Eovaldi impressed the Red Sox with a bullpen session while in Houston. This would be the second time since going under the knife that Nasty Nate has thrown a bullpen workout and Alex Cora seems pleased with the recovery.
"“That was good. Really good,” Cora said. “Like I’ve been saying all along, this guy, physically, is on another level.”"
Having Eovaldi back in the rotation will mean the Red Sox will see their starters back to full strength. It’s been a bit rough with the spot starts we’ve seen in his absence with Hector Velazquez getting shelled and Ryan Weber shining. It’ll be great to have the starters back to where they should be with plenty of the season left on the calendar.
Nasty Nate won’t be back overnight since the original prognosis had a recovery timetable of 6-8 weeks but his progress so far is a relief. As we all know with surgeries the recovery isn’t always as is should be, just ask Dustin Pedroia. But if this simulated game goes well this week then we may be seeing Eovaldi sooner rather than later.
Cora is being smart with Eovaldi’s recovery though, possibly having learned from past mistakes with not giving guys enough time. He’s aware of Nate’s past Tommy John history as well as previous arthroscopic tune-ups and he doesn’t want to rush him back too early.
"“It’s one thing to throw simulated games here and then compete at this level,” Cora said when asked if Eovaldi could return to the rotation without a rehab assignment. “The other stuff plays: the fans, the adrenaline, the leverage situations and winning comes into play. We’ll talk about it.”"
Another aspect about having Nate back on the roster is the ability to use him when and where he’s needed. Much like in the 2018 World Series run, Nate can be put into any situation that may arise in the game. As much as I want him back into the rotation with Chris Sale, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Rick Porcello, I also want him eased back into the game.
I would actually like to see him get some bullpen work first just to get back to live game scenarios and then work up to a long relief outing and finally back to starting. Just as Cora said about his return, there are a lot of factors that play in beyond the pitches. So with a slower return to full form may be the best way to get Eovaldi back and in top shape. Especially with the shape that the bullpen has been in during recent outings.
The Red Sox will need a hell of a run to find themselves back in contention for the AL East title and a shot at October. The season isn’t lost as a 6.5 game deficit can be overcome with a strong couple of weeks. Getting Nathan Eovaldi back in the lineup is a major first step at getting back on track with the title defense. With some big games coming up, I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing Nasty Nate sooner rather than later.