Eovaldi’s effort is worth the wait for the Rays

by Gary Shelton on May 31, 2018 · 0 comments

in general

Eovaldi, shown pitching for the Yankees, finally returned to the mound./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Eovaldi, shown pitching for the Yankees, finally returned to the mound./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Thursday, 4 a.m.

For a long time, he was a memory. A piece of yesterday. A guy who used to be a pitcher.

For 657 days, an eternity on the baseball field,Nathan Eovaldi sweated on side fields, working with a night such as this one in mind. For two years, he waited, and he healed.

And at the end of it, Eovaldi was, once again, an excellent pitcher.

Can you imagine? Can you picture a second Tommy John surgery, one that sidelines you for almost two years? Can you imagine the doubts, the wondering?

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Refsnyder hit a three-run homer to lead Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Refsnyder hit a three-run homer to lead Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

And can you imagine the satisfaction that had to come after throwing six innings of no-hit baseball?

Eovaldi threw 70 pitches in his return, lifting the Rays to a 6-0 victory. Eovaldi was the 35th pitcher to pitch after two Tommy John surgeries, and only the 12th to start a game. Of the other 11, only two started as many as 20 games.

“(Taking him out) was tough, there’s  no doubt," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "But we have to do what’s right by him. He wanted to stay. but realistically, he’s not getting to the ninth inning. I’ll just blame Kyle (Snyder, the pitching coach). I wanted him to keep pitching, but Kyle said to pull him.I’ll go with that."

Gomez had another big catch in right./CARMEN MANDATO

Gomez had another big catch in right./JEFFREY S. KING

In all, the Rays allowed one hit (off reliever Wilmer Font) on the night.

Rob Refsnyder had the big hit for the Rays, hitting a three-run home run in the third inning. Johnny Field drove in two runs with a double and a home run.

Field and Wilson Ramos each had two hits for the Rays.

"Everything went the way I’d like it to go," Eovaldi said. "There was   no way I was going to go nine, so why push the envelope?"

Snyder looked forward to seeing Eovaldi. It's easy to see why now.

“It’s going to be a huge accomplishment for him, but it’s going to be something felt throughout the clubhouse," Snyder said before the game. "He’s probably one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen."

After five straight wins, the Rays are now two games above .500 for the first time this season at 28-26. Tampa Bay goes for a four-game sweep today at 3:35 p.m. when it starts Ryne Stanek against Daniel Mengden.

Field knocked in two with a double and a homer./CARMEN MANDATO

Field knocked in two with a double and a homer./CARMEN MANDATO

 

 

 

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