Just when the Yankees were getting ready to activate CC Sabathia from the disabled list and finally go with a six-man rotation to lessen the work load of their starting pitchers, news broke that Nathan Eovaldi would be shut down for two weeks.
The 25-year old flame thrower underwent an MRI on Monday, which later revealed elbow inflammation in his pitching arm. Unfortunately, after speaking with team doctors, the Yankees announced that it’s unclear whether or not Eovaldi will pitch again this season, including playoffs.
Anything regarding the elbow or forearm stiffness is usually a prerequisite to the dreaded tommy john surgery, and interestingly enough, the young right-hander actually had tommy john surgery when he was a high school pitcher back in Texas. Let’s hope this latest set-back doesn’t require Eovaldi to undergo a second procedure, as pitchers who undergo a second tommy john surgery usually don’t have a good track record of returning to the majors.
After his last start, Eovaldi was 14-3 with a 4.20 ERA and lobbying to be one of the Yankees top-three playoff starters should they make the ALDS.
The timing on Eovaldi’s injury could not be worse. After yesterdays Labor Day victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees are currently just a half-game back of the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East, and both teams are set to meet in a critical four-game series over the weekend. Though Girardi hasn’t yet named his starting rotation for the Toronto series, everyone knows Eovaldi was likely to take the hill for one of the four games.
Furthermore, there are just 26-games remaining in the 2015 season, and Nathan Eovaldi was the unspoken work horse of the teams rotation. To date, Eovaldi leads the Yankees pitching staff in victories, innings pitched (154.1) and starts (27).
It’s unclear whether or not Girardi will stick with a five-man rotation or turn to a six-man rotation. If they go with six, the Yankees might recall Bryan Mitchell or stretch out Adam Warren from the bullpen.
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