AL Notes: Garver, Eovaldi, Red Sox, Kirilloff

Rangers fans received news today regarding catcher and DH Mitch Garver, who was hit in the rib cage by a pitch from Astros right-hander Bryan Abreu during the sixth inning of Game 7 of the ALCS on Monday. Garver was removed for a pinch-hitter prior to what would have been his next trip to the plate in the eighth inning. Fortunately, however, the Rangers indicated yesterday that an MRI showed Garver’s rib cage had sustained no fractures. Of course, as noted by The Athletic’s Levi Weaver, it’s still possible that the incident could impact Garver during the World Series against the Diamondbacks even as he avoided serious injury.

Garver’s had a solid 2023 with the bat for Texas, though his injury history and lack of time behind the plate in 2023 make for an unusual platform season ahead of his first foray into free agency this November. After slashing .270/.370/.500 in 344 trips to the plate during the regular season, Garver has hit even better for the club in the postseason with a .294/.368/.529 line across 38 plate appearances, with two home runs, two doubles, and a strikeout rate of just 15.8%. If the Rangers don’t feel the need to afford him extra rest after his injury scare, Garver figures to factor into the club’s lineup regularly after drawing starts at DH during every game of the ALCS.

More from around the American League…

  • Sticking with the Rangers, veteran right-hander Nathan Eovaldi has been a key cog in the club’s success this season. After posting a 3.63 ERA in 144 innings of work during the regular season, Eovaldi has posted quality starts all four times he’s taken the mound for Texas this postseason, with a 2.42 ERA and 26.9% strikeout rate in 26 innings of work. Eovaldi’s success with the Rangers this year prompted MassLive’s Chris Cotillo to look back at Eovaldi’s free agency last offseason, during which there was mutual interest in a reunion with the Red Sox. Cotillo notes that Boston offered the veteran righty a three-year, $51MM deal in early December, though after Eovaldi decided to hold out for a better offer, the club’s later signings of players like Kenley Jansen and Masataka Yoshida left Boston with a budget crunch later in the offseason. While the sides remained in contact until Eovaldi signed in Texas, Boston’s later offers were characterized by what Cotillo describes as “creative structures” thanks to a desire to stay under the luxury tax. Ultimately, Cotillo adds, the Red Sox pivoted to righty Corey Kluber, who posted a 7.04 ERA in 15 appearances this year, after Eovaldi landed with the Rangers on a two-year, $34MM deal.
  • The Twins announced today (as relayed by The Athletic’s Dan Hayes) that outfielder and first baseman Alex Kirilloff avoided a potentially more invasive procedure on his right shoulder as Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed a cleanup procedure of the bursal sac in Kirilloff’s right shoulder today. The Twins had previously revealed that Kirilloff would require offseason shoulder surgery, though it was unclear how severe the procedure would be at the time of the announcement. Ultimately, today’s update appears to be positive news for Minnesota, as Kirilloff will reportedly focus on strengthening his shoulder and improving its range of motion “in the coming weeks” before progressing to his normal offseason routine. Kirilloff acted as the club’s primary first baseman when healthy this season, slashing a solid .270/.348/.445 in 319 trips to the plate across 88 games.

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