Red Sox’ plan for Nate Eovaldi — use in ‘high-leverage’ spots
BALTIMORE — Nathan Eovaldi is with the Red Sox in Baltimore and manager Alex Cora said after an 11-2 loss to the Orioles on Friday night that the righthander will be activated for Saturday night’s game. The Sox sent down Ryan Weber to make room for Eovaldi.
Eovaldi has been on the injured list since the end of April with an elbow injury and his role once he returns will come in the bullpen. Cora believes this will be a significant boost to the pen, though he doesn’t know what his actual role will be just yet.
“We’ll find a way,” Cora said before the Sox’ 11-2 loss. “I think obviously we have to protect him, at the same time, he’s going to make us better and we feel comfortable where he’s at stuff-wise. We’ll sit down and talk about it. We’ll use him in high-leverage situations. I don’t know if we’re going to work him into it. We know what he can do as far as competing. We know the guy. We’ll see how it goes.”
When asked if the team will consider him in the closer role, Cora mentioned the job Brandon Workman has done and how the team has a bit more of an idea of how they want to go about the back part of the game.
“It seems like lately — you guys notice — we’ve been using Workman in that situation,” Cora said. “We’ve been using Matt Barnes a bit earlier. There’s structure, I think, now. Obviously we’ll use [Eovaldi] late in games. We know that he can do the job, so we can go from there. The other day was a perfect example against the Dodgers. It was going to be Barnes down two or down one and then we tied the game and we went to Workman. He’s been that good and actually we can use Barnes in the seventh or eighth.”
Eovaldi gives the Red Sox one more option in the bullpen. And though general manager Dave Dombrowski was bullish on Eovaldi being in the bullpen, Cora didn’t rule out a chance that Eovaldi could return as a starter.
The Red Sox entered the weekend two games back of the second wild-card spot and 10 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East. Unless the Yankees totally collapse, it seems as if the Red Sox’ best chance for a postseason push will come in one of the two wild-card spots. The weather this weekend, though, is extremely hot and Cora is trying to find a balance between getting his guys some rest and still making that run.
“We’ll do our best,” Cora said, “but we know where we’re at. One thing for sure, we’ll play in the air conditioning [at Tropicana Field] Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. So, we have to make sure we feel good. We just had the [All-Star] break but we had some long games at home, rain delays and all that stuff. It’s been going on for, what, a month already.”
Friday, for instance, Mookie Betts was in the designated hitter’s spot and J.D. Martinez was in right. Cora said he was trying his best to get Betts a breather and off his feet while still keeping his bat in the lineup.
Still, Cora mentioned his team doesn’t mind the heat.
“I know when it’s hot they like it, too, offensively” Cora said.
Pencil him in
If there’s a person who doesn’t want a day off this weekend, it’s probably Jackie Bradley Jr. His mother, Alfreda Hagans, along with two nephews and a brother will make the trip up to Baltimore from their hometown of Richmond, Va. on Friday. Then, his father will be here Saturday. The trip is 2½ hours. The family plans on going to Bradley Jr.’s favorite restaurant in Baltimore, Teavolve Cafe and Lounge, for a huge family breakfast Saturday morning.
“It’s the closest it’s going to get for the teams we play all the time,” Bradley said. “My parents make it their business to try to come up here. It’s a pretty easy drive, but it’s also pretty easy to fly, too.”
Familiar ground for Cashner
It’s been less than a week since the Sox obtained Andrew Cashner from the Orioles to help remedy a depleted and underperforming rotation. On Friday, he was back at Camden Yards, but this time in the visiting clubhouse.
“It’s different,” the well-traveled Cashner said. “But it’s one of those things where I’ve been over here on the other side [visiting clubhouse] before. It’s unique to get to come back so early and see a lot of the faces. It’s not so much weird to come back as it is nice to see a lot of familiar faces.
On the transition, Cashner said, “It’s been fast. I think the transition will be easier once I kind of get over this road trip. But everybody has been very welcoming and it’s a veteran team. I’m just trying to hit my stride and get going.”
Cashner will make his second start for the Sox in the series finale Sunday.
Moreland starts rehab
Mitch Moreland restarted his rehab assignment Friday night at Pawtucket. He played first base and went 0 for 2. It’s his first rehab stint since July 11 after he felt tightness in his right quad and had to be removed from the game.