Nathan Eovaldi returned to the hill Sunday and while his individual performance wasn’t up to his standard, the right-hander left with plenty of positives.
“Juices were definitely flowing,” Eovaldi told reporters after the Boston Red Sox fell 7-6 to the Minnesota Twins in their first spring training game of the season. “You’re facing another team in the batter’s box, you’re not facing your guys anymore. And then you got the fans cheering. So, it’s baseball again. It feels good.”
Eovaldi, 31, expressed how it was his “tempo” that kept him from having a better outing. He pitched 1 1/3 innings and allowed two hits before being credited with two runs allowed. He also struck out two with one walk.
“Mainly, I feel like it was just tempo. I was excited to be out there,” Eovaldi said. “I felt like I was rushing through my delivery. For the most part, my off-speed wasn’t very good. I felt like my fastball was good, the cutter, I felt like, was the best pitch today — I felt like I was locating it pretty well. Curve ball was good, the slider and splitter not so much. Again, I was just excited. I was rushing through it today.”
Eovaldi stranded two runners in the first inning with one in scoring position. He then was pulled in the second after allowing a two-strike single and hitting a Minnesota batter. Boston’s Caleb Simpson came in, loaded the bases and allowed a two-run single.
“Good stuff,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Eovaldi. “As of now, it’s about your repetitions. Too bad he wasn’t able to complete the two innings, but he got his work in and now we move forward.”
Eovaldi, most importantly, seems ready for what really matters — the regular season. He’ll be a major piece for the rotation, which will need to show a strong improvement in order for Boston to be successful.
“Body is feeling good,” he said. “I got the work in I wanted to get — I got to work out of stretch, deep in the counts, all that. Overall, obviously, it’s not what I wanted results-wise, but I got the work and that was the main thing. And I feel good.”
The Red Sox will host the Atlanta Braves in a spring training game Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.