The New York Yankees may be playoff bound, but pitcher Nathan Eovaldi may not be, as his injured right elbow is still causing him pain, according to a report from Brendan Kuty of NJ.com.
Eovaldi, 25, landed on the disabled list two weeks ago with soreness in his right elbow. At the time, the plan was for the hard-throwing right-hander to be shut down for two weeks, begin a throwing program yesterday, and hopefully be ready for the postseason.
But Yankees GM Brian Cashman says the team will wait one more week before giving Eovaldi another chance to return. While medical examination of his elbow shows improvement, Cashman revealed that Eovaldi still feels pain.
“Almost all the physical testing came out fine, but when he pushes hard on it, he feels it then.”
If Eovaldi is able to pitch without pain, his return would likely not be as a starting pitcher. Due to the time he has missed, Eovaldi would simply not have enough time to build up his arm strength to handle the rigors of a starting role. Therefore, the general consensus is he will return as a reliever.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi is unsure of what the team can expect from Eovaldi going forward, but is open to the idea of using him out of the bullpen, as he tells Kuty.
“Yeah, I wasn’t sure what we would get. My thought was that if we were going to get something, it would be maybe out of the (bullpen) to start. I still think you look at that.”
Prior to going down with the injury, Eovaldi established himself as the Yankees’ most reliable starter. Since the All-Star break, he pitched to a 5-1 record with a 3.67 ERA, as noted by New York Sports Hub. Overall, through 27 starts, Eovaldi is 14-3 with a 4.20 ERA in 154-and-one-third innings.
While Cashman did add that shutting down Eovaldi altogether is “completely in play,” he also noted that Eovaldi will see Yankees’ physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad before proceeding, but they will proceed with caution.
“I think he’ll see Ahmad later this week but we’ll see where we’re at. But clearly because of where we’re at, this time of season, you know, you’re going to run out of time. The only thing we’re interested in right now is making sure he’s right before we take that next step. If he’s not right, we won’t take that next step.”
[Image by Steven Ryan / Getty Images]