On a day when the visiting team at Dodger Stadium had the biggest minor-league call-up of the day –if not the year, given the hype surrounding the 2010 No. 1 draft pick Bryce Harper — Nate Eovaldi’s recall made but a small ripple, if one at all.
Eovaldi found out Thursday morning that he was headed to Los Angeles for the first time this season and on Friday the Dodgers officially announced his recall from Double-A Chattanooga. Left-hander Michael Antonini, recalled Tuesday from Triple-A Albuquerque, was optioned back to the Isotopes.
“It was planned from the beginning,” manager Don Mattingly said. “With Atlanta lefty-heavy, we wanted an extra lefty.”
Both he and Eovaldi said the plan hasn’t changed for a pitcher who was tabbed the team’s “sixth starter” coming out of spring training. The 22-year-old had been used primarily as a starter the last two seasons in the minors, and started in six of his 10 appearances last season during an August/September call-up with the Dodgers.
But Eovaldi’s last two starts for the Lookouts lasted only one inning. After the first, he was pulled unexpectedly because of a potentially inhibiting groin injury to Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley. In the second (on Wednesday) he was told before the game that he would only be needed for an inning.
This time around, he’s being slotted as an extra arm out the bullpen, which shouldn’t pose a problem.
“My arm’s always been able to get warmed up easily,” Eovaldi said.
With Todd Coffey eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday and fellow righty Matt Guerrier eligible a week from today, Eovaldi’s latest call-up figures to be a short one.
He will not be handling the closer’s duties, as Javy Guerra was cleared to pitch prior to Friday’s game against the Washington Nationals. The swelling on his right cheek was non-existent two days after it was hit by a line drive off the bat of the Braves’ Brian McCann; Guerra said he felt no lingering symptoms.
Surprisingly, his only health issue was in his right foot. Check out this clip of the play and you’ll notice Guerra plants his foot in the dirt, then twists it while he attempts to get out of the way of the baseball.
Dodgers trainer Sue Falsone said that one of Guerra’s cleats got caught in the dirt and that probably caused his pain. However, Guerra was cleared to pitch following a pain-free throwing session Friday afternoon.