Rangers Starter Nathan Eovaldi Looked Sharp Against Brewers
- Matthew Postins
Nathan Eovaldi was effective in his second start of the spring on Friday when he faced the Milwaukee Brewers.
Texas Rangers pitcher Nathan Eovaldi made just his second Major League start in Spring Training on Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers in Surprise, Ariz.
Eovaldi pitched a sharp three innings in which his fastball hit 99 mph on the radar gun several times. In the fourth, he recorded one out and then left the game after he gave up two straight hits. He faced 12 batters and threw fewer than 25 pitches.
His line included 3 1/3 innings, four hits allowed and five strikeouts.
Eovaldi started the top of the first by striking out Brice Turang. He gave up a single to Brian Anderson, but got Abraham Toro to ground into a double play to end the frame. First baseman Brad Miller started and ended the double play, with his throw to shortstop Josh Smith getting the first out and Smith’s throw back to Miller getting the second.
He was sharper in the second, striking out Tyler Naquin, getting Victor Caratini to ground out and striking out Keston Hiura in order.
Eovaldi started the third by giving up a single to Owen Miller. But Travis Jankowski, who was playing center field, cut Miller down at second after Miller tried to stretch it to a double. It was the second time fielding bailed Eovaldi out of a jam.
He then struck out Andruw Monasterio and Joey Wiemer to end the inning.
In the fourth, Turang grounded out, followed by an Anderson single. Toro then singled to puts two runners on, which prompted a mound visit and a pitching change to Jacob Barnes.
Eovaldi had not thrown in a Major League game since his first start on Feb. 25 against the Kansas City Royals, throwing two innings and struck out four. After the start, the Rangers shut down Eovaldi after he noted some left side tightness, similar to what kept Jacob deGrom out of a spring training early.
Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said that deGrom will start in his first Major League spring game on Sunday against Seattle.
After some time off, Eovaldi resumed throwing in a bullpen session on March 8, followed by another last Friday.
He threw two innings in a Double-A game on Monday in Surprise, giving up two hits and striking out two in 29 pitches. He said he was able to throw all of his pitches and took advantage of minor league hitters that tend to be more aggressive.
"It was my side (and not) my arm or anything like that," he told Inside the Rangers on Monday after a minor-league start. "In my mind, my arm is great. It feels good.”
The Rangers were not concerned about shutting him down as Eovaldi reported to camp early and in shape because he had committed to Team USA for the World Baseball Classic in December. But he was not selected to play.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard
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