Boston Red Sox diary: Nathan Eovaldi hits 99.4 mph on second spring throw, Alex Cora returns in dugout, Bobby Dalbec circuits
Boston Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi’s second pitch in spring practice was a fastball at 99.4 mph. His third throw was timed at 99 mph, by Statcast.
He threw 18 four-seam fast balls, averaging 97.9 mph and reaching 99.5 mph. Boston lost 7-6 in their 2021 Grapefruit League opener.
“I felt good the whole camp,” said Eovaldi. “I have the impression that the velocity was also there earlier, in the live BPs. During the offseason I also have access to one of the Rapsodos (analysis machines) so I know the velocity has been there. This is usually not one of the things I have to worry about preparing myself for. My main thing is the tempo. I’m excited there and I have to learn to control that and set my tempo and come out and be able to execute my throws. I feel like going too fast takes away my low speed throws and that gets me in trouble.
Eovaldi went 1 of an inning, allowing two runs (one earned), two hits and a walk while striking out two.
“I feel like I’m rushing through my delivery,” he said. “In most cases my speed of descent was not very good. Fastball was good. The cutter I felt was the best pitch today. I had the impression of locating it well. Curveball was good. The cursor and the separator not so much.
Cora’s return by canoe
Alex Cora managed a game for the first time since September 29, 2019.
Boston let him go in January 2020 for his involvement in Astros’ illegal sign-stealing program in 2017. Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom rehired him in November.
“It was amazing,” Cora said. “Just to walk around, talk baseball, teach the game. I got into this situation last year and now I’m back. As I said before, I thank Chaim for this opportunity. … This is what I do, man. Talk baseball and enjoy the game. Teach children what to do. Talking to Jonathan (Arauz) about this double play – that’s why I’m doing this. I appreciate. It was a fun day. It’s been fun since my return. No doubt about it. “
Dalbec, Downs, Chavis homer
Bobby Dalbec, Jeter Downs and Michael Chavis all scored in the loss on Sunday.
Arauz, Kiké Hernández, Jarren Duran, Connor Wong and Yairo Munoz all had hits.
“It was cool to see the kids playing that way in the last part of the game,” said Cora. “It was pretty cool to see them play. Jonathan and Jeter. Michael had a good swing.
Bazardo throws a perfect round
Eduard Bazardo threw a perfect third inning, needing to throw just five pitches (three sliders, a curve ball and a fastball at 94.7 mph). He got two groundouts and a flyout.
The 25-year-old prospect was added to the 40-player roster in November. He added 12 pounds of muscle and increased his speed while stopping COVID-19. He also has elite spin on his curveball.
“Everyone in player development is proud of the work they have put in, in the summer, in the offseason and so far in camp,” Cora said of Bazardo ahead of the game. ” He gained weight. He’s gotten stronger and the fastball is better now. The speeds are increasing. Everyone knows the ball that breaks, but I think the fastball is going to make a difference. A very nice guy. For his young age or whatever, he always walks with a smile, feels comfortable in the group. He’s one of those guys who just watches the video, especially (from) the instructional league, you’re like, “Wow. That’s awesome. So let’s see how it’s going at the major league level. “
Sawamura, Cordero updates
Reliever Hirokazu Sawamura from Japan has arrived in Fort Myers and is undergoing his admission tests.
Outfielder Franchy Cordero remains in the Dominican Republic. He is on the COVID-related injured list, but he could soon be in Fort Myers.
“I’m still looking for one more step from the training staff and the MLB office,” Cora said. “And if we get the green light, it will fly to the United States. He’ll fly here and then he’ll have to go through the protocols.