With the Boston Red Sox playing (and hosting) the Texas Rangers this week for the first time this season, Nathan Eovaldi got a chance to reunite with his old team.
"Nasty Nate" -- who spent four-plus seasons with the Red Sox from 2018-2022 -- said Tuesday before the series opener that he was stunned when he wasn't re-signed by the club over the winter.
"No, yeah, I mean, I was positive that I'd be able to come back," Eovaldi said, per WBZ's Michael Hurley. "Again, we stayed in contact with everybody during the negotiation process, we let them know other deals that we were getting and just kind of trying to make sure that we kept that door open as long as possible. But it just came to that point where it was time to move on."
Eovaldi was recently named an All-Star for the second time in his career and is scheduled to pitch in the series finale on Thursday night at Fenway Park.
The 33-year-old has stepped up immensely for the Rangers in the absence of Jacob deGrom, not only leading the Texas starting rotation and putting together arguably the best season of his career but also entering himself into the AL Cy Young conversation.
Eovaldi was the junior circuit's pitcher of the month in May and is the only pitcher in baseball with two complete games this year (one of which was a shutout). Eovaldi is tied for second in MLB with his 10 wins (against just two losses), ranks third in WHIP (0.98) and innings pitched (AL-leading 112 1/3), is tied for third in wins above replacement (WAR) for pitchers (3.1) and is seventh in ERA (2.64).
While the quartet of Rangers All-Stars from their starting lineup in Corey Seager, Josh Jung, Jonah Heim and Marcus Semien have been important to the team's success, the ace has been instrumental as well. Texas (51-35) has the third-best record in baseball and holds a three-game lead over the second-place Houston Astros in the AL West.
"But again, I'm happy with where I am now and everything that's been able to happen. I mean, you can't always control everything. Just kind of take what life gives you," Eovaldi said, according to Hurley. "Obviously I miss it here. I had such an amazing time here in my career. Everything that we were able to do in '18 and then, you know, the personal little achievements that I was able to accomplish as well, Boston always has a place near and dear to my heart."