Eo­valdi looks ready for Open­ing Day nod

Pitched five solid in­nings Tues­day

Sentinel & Enterprise - - SPORTS - By Steve Hewitt

The worst-kept se­cret out of Red Sox camp is that Nathan Eo­valdi will be the Open­ing Day starter when the sea­son starts next Fri­day night against the Ori­oles.

Ei­ther way, the right-han­der con­tin­ued to prove Tues­day he’s ready to go.

Ed­uardo Ro­driguez, who tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19 last week, is feel­ing bet­ter but still has hur­dles to clear be­fore he can come to Boston. With nine days to go be­fore the opener, it’s in­evitable that Ron Roenicke will name Eo­valdi the starter. The Red Sox man­ager said Tues­day that he will have a con­ver­sa­tion with Eo­valdi in the next few days.

The righty doesn’t have much com­pe­ti­tion for the job, es­pe­cially af­ter an­other solid per­for­mance in Tues­day’s in­trasquad game at Fen­way Park, where he threw a to­tal of five in­nings. He pitched three in­nings be­fore a rain de­lay forced him in­side for an in­ning, then threw one more af­ter the de­lay. In­clud­ing the in­ning he threw in­side, Eo­valdi said he made 82 pitches. He gave up four hits, all sin­gles, struck

out three and walked none.

Af­ter throw­ing four score­less in­nings last week, it was an­other en­cour­ag­ing step for Eo­valdi.

“The fast­ball, cut­ter, slider all felt re­ally good,” Eo­valdi said. “The curve­ball to­ward the end felt bet­ter than I started with. The only frus­trat­ing thing was the split­ter. I felt like I was flying open with it. That’s go­ing to hap­pen at times, but I have to make those ad­just­ments a lot faster than I did.”

It sounds like a pitcher ready to go on Open­ing Day, though Eo­valdi didn’t want to get ahead of him­self.

“I haven’t been told any­thing yet,” he said. “I just talked to Ed­die and he says he’s feel­ing great. It’s just wait­ing for the neg­a­tive test re­sults so we’ll see what hap­pens. Ei­ther way I’m go­ing to be ready to go.”

The fi­nal step for Eo­valdi will the­o­ret­i­cally come in Sun­day’s in­strasquad game, which would be five days be­fore Open­ing Day. Roenicke is hope­ful he can pitch six in­nings in that last tune-up, and Eo­valdi thinks he’ll be ready to throw around 100 pitches in his first start.

“His strength is there,” Roenicke said. “His com­mand, like you saw to­day, his com­mand has Given where he was a year been pretty good so I think he’s ago, it’s some­what re­mark­able pleased with what he’s do­ing. Eo­valdi is in this po­si­tion.

He’s a per­fec­tion­ist like all of At this point last sea­son, the them so he wants to con­tinue to right-han­der was still on the in­get bet­ter but we re­ally are hapjured list as he re­cov­ered from py with where he’s at.” surgery to re­move loose bod­ies

Af­ter a strong spring, Eo­valdi from his pitch­ing el­bow. He re­hasn’t needed much time to turned in late July as a re­liever build back up this sum­mer. He’s be­fore ul­ti­mately fin­ish­ing the us­ing all of his pitches and more sea­son strong and healthy as a im­por­tantly get­ting suc­cess­ful starter, but 2019 was largely a re­sults in these in­trasquad dis­ap­point­ment for Eo­valdi afgames, and seems like a guy the ter sign­ing a four-year, $68 milRed Sox can rely on right away. lion con­tract the pre­vi­ous win

That’ster.mu­sic­totheRedSo­x’ ears right now given the state of Now, as he en­ters the se­cond their ro­ta­tion, which fea­tures year of that deal — al­beit a Martin Perez and Ryan We­ber as short­ened 60-game ver­sion — the No. 2 and 3 pitch­ers, re­speche’s ar­guably the Red Sox’ most tively, and an ar­ray of oth­ers vy­im­por­tant pitcher and at the ing to fill in­nings on the back least some­one they will heav­ily end. It’s go­ing to be cru­cial for rely upon.

Eo­valdi to give the Red Sox at “I think any­time you’re in least six in­nings for them to win that po­si­tion and you’re one of games and not tax the rest of the the guys that a team counts on, staff. it’s a good feel­ing,” Roenicke

“We know we’re go­ing to need said. “He’s pitched enough in in­nings from him,” Roenicke the big leagues. He’s had enough said. “With what our ro­ta­tion is, suc­cess in the big leagues, he’s he’s got to be a guy we’re go­ing gone through strug­gles in the to count on to give us in­nings al­big leagues. So I think all of most ev­ery game and hope­fully those things al­low him to hana­long with that throw up a dle Open­ing Day if we go with bunch of ze­roes and we’ll score him. some runs for him.” “I’m not wor­ried about the

Said Eo­valdi: “You’ve got ev­makeup. I know there will be a ery five days. It’s def­i­nitely golit­tle anx­i­ety there and that’s ing to be im­por­tant to get quick fine but we feel good if he’s that outs and stay out there as long guy. We feel good start­ing with as I can.” him.”


Nathan Eo­valdi de­liv­ers a pitch dur­ing an in­trasquad game Tues­day.

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