ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — After pitching his best game of the season on Wednesday night, Nathan Eovaldi found himself unable to straighten out his right arm on Thursday.
Now he is on the injured list and could be headed for arthroscopic surgery next week.
An MRI taken on Friday showed a “loose body” in Eovaldi’s elbow. He believes it’s a broken-off piece of cartilage based on a similar issue last season that resulted in surgery.
Eovaldi will travel to New York on Monday to be examined by Yankees team doctor Chris Ahmad. It was Ahmad who performed Eovaldi’s second Tommy John surgery in 2016.
One option is to have a cortisone shot. But Eovaldi indicated he would prefer to have surgery again.
“It worked out really well for me,” he said. “It’s one of those things where we’re at in the year, too. It’s still early in the season; we have a lot of time left. We don’t want anything to get worse towards the end of the season when we’re trying to make a run.”
Eovaldi had arthroscopic surgery last March 30 to remove two loose bodies from his elbow when he was with the Rays. He started a minor league rehabilitation assignment May 4 and returned to the majors May 30 and threw six no-hit innings at Oakland.
The Rays, Eovaldi said, were extra cautious because he had missed the previous season recovering from the Tommy John surgery. He thinks he could return quicker this time.
“The recovery was fast. It was two weeks and you basically have your range of motion back,” Eovaldi said. “Then it’s building back up to a start.”
Eovaldi said the issue was akin to having a pebble in your shoe. It doesn’t hurt unless it’s on your heel. In this case, there’s something jamming up his elbow.
“It’s in a bad spot,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said.
Eovaldi was signed to a four-year, $68 million deal in December. He is 3-3 with a 4.08 ERA with the Red Sox since being acquired from the Rays last July 25.
Eovaldi allowed one unearned run on three hits over six innings against the Yankees and hit 97 miles per hour with his fastball.
“It’s definitely frustrating coming off the start I had and feeling mechanically where I am now,” Eovaldi said. “For it to happen again, it’s just frustrating.”
Eovaldi had been scheduled to start Tuesday against Detroit at Fenway Park. Manager Alex Cora said Hector Velazquez is a candidate for that game unless he is needed in relief before then.
“Somebody has to step up. We’ll see how it goes the next few days,” Cora said.
Velazquez has started two games and allowed one run on three hits over six innings, albeit with four walks. He threw 57 pitches Monday and should be able to get to 75 if he starts Tuesday.
Velazquez has a 3.09 ERA in 13 career starts.
Righthander Mike Shawaryn is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA in three starts for Pawtucket. Darwinzon Hernandez, a 22-year-old who impressed in spring training, has started twice for Double A Portland and allowed two earned runs over 10 innings.
Lefthander Bobby Poyner was recalled from Triple A Pawtucket to take Eovaldi’s spot on the roster. He faced two hitters in the seventh inning, walking the first then allowing a triple.
Chavis has arrived
Michael Chavis did not arrive at Tropicana Field until the third inning on Friday night after his flight was delayed and his Uber driver dropped him off at the wrong spot.
Christian Furr, a friend who Chavis said is as close as a brother, was texting him from the ballpark while he was still in the air.
“It was a hectic day for sure,” said Chavis, a 23-year-old former first-round pick.
Chavis’s double in the ninth inning on Saturday helped produce the winning run in a 6-5 victory against the Rays.
That Chavis spent most of spring training with the major league team should make his transition smooth.
“It’s huge,” he said. “When I first walked in here, the faces were familiar. It wasn’t an uncomfortable situation. I walked in and everyone was super welcoming.”
Cora plans to put Chavis in the lineup Sunday afternoon at a position to be determined.
“I think we’ll find a place for him,” Cora said.
Mitch Moreland left the game in the third inning with back spasms, but he said he would be ready to play Sunday . . . The Red Sox halted Brock Holt’s injury rehab assignment with Pawtucket. His scratched right cornea has not responded to treatment as hoped. It’s unclear when Holt will play again . . . Infielder Marco Hernandez, who has not played since May 2017 because of three rounds of surgery on his left shoulder, started a rehab assignment with Single A Salem. He started at second base Saturday and was 1 for 4.
Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.