BALTIMORE (AP) — Nathan Eovaldi is poised to return to the Boston pitching staff as a reliever after missing three months with an elbow injury.
The right-hander passed his final test Thursday, striking out the side in a one-inning rehab appearance with Triple-A Pawtucket. Barring any setback, Eovaldi will come off the 60-day injured list on Saturday in Baltimore.
Signed as a free agent in December, Eovaldi made four starts for the Red Sox before being placed on the injured list on April 20.
The 29-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery in 2007 and 2016, and Boston will be judicious in rationing his workload.
Manager Joey Cora said, "We obviously have to protect him. ... The game will dictate how we're going to use him."
Cora said Eovaldi would be used "in high level situations," perhaps as a closer.
"Obviously we'll use him late in games," Cora said. "We know that he can do the job. He's going to help us get better."