Rangers activate Nathan Eovaldi for 3-inning start in World Series rematch instead of a rehab game

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Nathan Eovaldi threw 27 of 37 pitches for strikes in a three-inning start for the Texas Rangers, who activated the right-hander from the injured list Tuesday to start their World Series rematch against Arizona rather than having him pitch in a rehab game.

It was the first game action for Eovaldi since departing after 5 1/3 scoreless innings against Washington on May 2. He went on the 15-day injured list the next day with a right groin strain.

Eovaldi struck out two without any walks while allowing two runs on five hits, including three hits in a row to open the second inning. He exited with the Rangers trailing 2-1, and was replaced on the mound by left-hander Andrew Heaney at the start of the fourth inning. But Eovaldi got a no-decision since Texas went ahead in the fifth on a homer by Corey Seager.

Texas also activated rookie outfielder Wyatt Langford from the 10-day IL after he hadn't played since May 4 because of a right hamstring strain. He was in the lineup batting seventh as the designated hitter, while the team placed struggling fellow rookie outfielder Evan Carter on the injured list with a lumbar sprain.

Right-handed reliever Yerry Rodríguez was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.

Manager Bruce Bochy had indicated over the weekend that Eovaldi would pitch somewhere else before rejoining the Rangers rotation.

“Because he was ready, we just said, just go ahead and use him here instead of going on rehab,” Bochy said when asked before the game what changed, and adding that he had talked to Eovaldi about it Sunday.

The Rangers had listed TBA for their Tuesday starter, though it had been expected that Dane Dunning might start. The right-hander returned from a 15-day IL stint last Wednesday after being sidelined with a right rotator cuff strain.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said his team didn't know Eovaldi was pitching until after they got to the ballpark Tuesday.

“Yeah, we faced him in a couple of really critical moments last year. We know what he’s capable of doing,” Lovullo said.

Eovaldi, an All-Star last season in his Rangers debut, threw six scoreless innings and was the winning pitcher in the clinching Game 5 of the World Series for Texas last November 1. He allowed five runs over 4 2/3 innings in the series opener that the Rangers won in extra innings.

Bochy said Dunning (3-3, 4.43) would pitch Wednesday in the finale of the two-game set against the Diamondbacks.

“We wanted to give Dane an extra day. He got some pretty good stuff there in Minnesota, he was pretty sick,” Bochy said. “So, yeah, there were a couple of variables involved.”

Langford, the fourth overall pick in last summer's amateur draft, hit .224 with one homer and 11 RBIs while starting 31 of the team's first 34 games this season. His home run was an inside-the-park dash.

Carter, who made his debut at the end of last season and was an everyday starter in the playoffs, is hitting .188 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 45 games this season. He was hitless with seven strikeouts in his last 20 at-bats over a nine-game span.



Stephen Hawkins, The Associated Press