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On Monday, the Los Angeles Dodgers placed Ted Lilly on the 15-day disabled list with what they're calling inflammation in his left shoulder. The club isn't sure about how long he'll be sidelined. All parties are hopeful that he'll return on June 8, the first day he's eligible.
Eovaldi gets the call
Lilly and injuries are acquaintances, at least. Ailments that have sidelined him in the past have been known to linger, so the Blue and their southpaw might be excessively optimistic to think that he'll be back quickly. He told reporters that his shoulder has been bothering him since his May 18 outing versus the St. Louis Cardinals.
If Lilly has nothing more than inflammation and it isn't masking something, a short stay is a good possibility. He believes he had a similar injury in 2009, when he was a member of the Chicago Cubs, and he missed only a few starts then. Don Mattingly is encouraged because his left-hander may have caught the issue before it became a real problem.
Lilly has a 3.14 ERA in eight starts (48 2/3 innings). He entered his last start, at the Arizona Diamondbacks, with a 1.79 ERA, but he yielded eight earned runs in 3 1/3 stanzas in that one. Not long after, questions surfaced about his health.
On Tuesday, Los Angeles recalled Nathan Eovaldi from Double-A Chattanooga so that he could take Lilly's place in the rotation. Last season, Eovaldi was 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 10 games with the parent club. In six starts, he put up a 3.09 ERA, a 6.47 K/9 and a 4.78 BB/9.
Eovaldi works primarily with a mid-90s fastball and a tough slider, which has led to speculation that his future lies in the bullpen. Not helping his case to start are the problems he's had with control.
This season, with the Lookouts, the righty has posted a 3.34 BB/9, which represents a distinct improvement upon his 2011 marks in that category at both levels. He's 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA in nine games (eight starts, 35 innings) this year.
Eovaldi is quite a talent, but part of his roto handicap is that he hasn't made it a custom to pitch deep into his starts. His value is also tied to the length of time that Lilly is out. There's considerable upside with the 22-year-old, enough to prompt NL-only managers to pick him up right away. In most mixed formats, there'll be some justifiable hesitation.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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