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Nathan Eovaldi could land on injured list after early exit from Rangers win

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)


ARLINGTON — Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is expected to undergo testing for right groin tightness that forced him out of his start Thursday after 5 1/3 innings, and Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said that the Rangers will err on the side of caution with the health of their staff ace.

Eovaldi had just thrown his 92nd pitch against the Nationals when Bochy, catcher Jonah Heim, pitching Mike Mike Maddux and head athletic trainer Matt Lucero went to the mound in the sixth inning of the Rangers’ 6-0 victory over the Nationals. Eovaldi exited after a short discussion.

He said that the options were to take a few warm-up pitches to test the groin or leave the game with his pitch count already nearing 100.

“It was just that one pitch,” Eovaldi said. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. We’ll get an MRI and just play it safe and be smart with it.”

Because it’s still so early in the season, the smart route might be a stint on the injured list. Eovaldi’s next start would be Tuesday at Oakland, and the Rangers are scheduled to play a doubleheader Wednesday before an off day.

A bullpen game Tuesday in place of Eovaldi might be a tough ask with the two games Wednesday, so right-hander Owen White could get a spot start. Jack Leiter, who pitched Thursday for Triple A Round Rock, is a strong candidate to start one of the doubleheader games.

If Eovaldi hits the IL, Leiter could remain in the rotation as his fill-in on the next Rangers homestand. Max Scherzer might also be available by then, though he said Thursday that he is not making a second rehab start this weekend.

Bochy said the team’s plans will become clearer after Eovaldi his his MRI exam.

“He may need some rest. That’s what we’re going to find out,” Bochy said. “We’re going to take care of him and do what’s right.”

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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