Eovaldi to make season debut on Tuesday

Eovaldi to make season debut on Tuesday

MIAMI -- Heading into the season, Nathan Eovaldi was lined up to be the Marlins' No. 2 starting pitcher. Instead, he started off on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.

Finally, after 2 1/2 months of recovery, the 23-year-old is set to join Miami's rotation. His first start will be on Tuesday at Arizona, in the slot that Kevin Slowey was initially lined up to fill.

"Eovaldi's back," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's going to start on Tuesday."

The arrival of the hard-throwing right-hander doesn't automatically mean Slowey will be completely leaving the rotation.

"Right now, the plan is for [Eovaldi] to start on Tuesday in Arizona, and we'll mix and match with the rotation and try to figure out where we are," Redmond said.

Eovaldi is expected to be reinstated from the 60-day disabled list either after Monday's game at Arizona or prior to Tuesday's game. The right-hander was with the Marlins on Friday at Marlins Park.

On Thursday night, Eovaldi concluded his rehab assignment, throwing six strong innings for Double-A Jacksonville. Eovaldi threw 77 pitches four days after he tossed just one inning and 21 pitches in a game that was rained out.

The Marlins were extremely careful with Eovaldi in his recovery.

"We were really taking it slow, making sure everything felt good," Eovaldi said. "I think that's why I made so many rehab starts on my return, to make sure everything was fine."

An MRI exam was taken at the end of March, and it revealed inflammation. Most importantly, there was no structural damage. Since Eovaldi's been throwing, he's not dealt with any discomfort.

"After each bullpen and each game, I haven't had any soreness or any type of fatigue," he said. "I've been feeling great."

The Marlins acquired Eovaldi from the Dodgers last July as part of the Hanley Ramirez trade. He brings a power arm to the rotation.

"Things have been going well," Redmond said. "He's been throwing hard. More importantly, it's just how he feels, his strength and building his arm strength back up.

"He had a great spring and then went down with the shoulder, and it's been a long time. He's been out for a long time, and it's nice to have him back. I know it's been a long road for him, and I know he's excited to be back and part of the team. It gets lonely down there when you're grinding it out in rehab day after day after day. It's not fun."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter