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Eovaldi, back in Red Sox rotation, to start Wed.

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Nathan Eovaldi will return to the Boston Red Sox‘s rotation and start Wednesday’s game against the Cleveland Indians, manager Alex Cora said, unless he has to be used in Tuesday night’s game.

Cora said the plan is to leave Eovaldi in the rotation going forward.

Eovaldi has been working out of the bullpen since he returned July 20 from elbow surgery in April. In nine games as a reliever, he has a 6.75 ERA and 1.87 WHIP.

Cora said the team hoped Eovaldi could throw about 55 pitches, with the plan being for him to stay in the rotation and build his pitch count.

Eovaldi signed a four-year, $68 million contract to remain with the Red Sox last December.

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Ex-Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild hired for same position with Padres

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SAN DIEGO — Former New York Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild has been hired in the same position by the San Diego Padres.

Rothschild is one of several newcomers on rookie manager Jayce Tingler’s staff announced Thursday. Rothschild spent the last nine seasons with the Yankees before being fired after last season. He replaces Darren Balsley.

Other newcomers include bench coach Bobby Dickerson, first base coach Wayne Kirby, and Ben Fritz as bullpen coach. Dickerson comes from the Phillies and Kirby from the Orioles. Fritz enters his sixth season with the Padres organization and his first at the big league level.

Glenn Hoffman returns as third base coach. Skip Schumaker has been elevated to associate manager after serving as the first base coach the last two seasons. Damion Easley was promoted from assistant hitting coach to hitting coach. Rod Barajas will serve as catching and quality control coach. He was bench coach last season before being named interim manager for the last eight games after Andy Green was fired.

San Diego finished last in the NL West in 2019.

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Athletes join in on the ‘Baby Yoda’ meme frenzy

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You must unlearn what you have learned about elite internet memes in the past because “Baby Yoda” is better than all of them.

OK, maybe there’s a slight recency bias accompanying that statement, but it’s certainly in the GOAT discussion. “Baby Yoda” burst on the social media scene so quickly — and with such fervor — that “woman yelling at a cat” meme couldn’t see it coming. Heck, even the “I’m gonna tell my kids” meme didn’t stand a chance. The Face App #AgeChallenge? Can hardly remember it.

We’re not going to say that the force is strong on the Internet right now, but just know we’re thinking it. Luckily for us, the sports world is not immune to the magic of “The Child,” as 50-year-old Yoda is referred to in the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian.” From Russell Wilson to Tennessee football, athletes and teams alike are jumping on meme train.

Here are some of our favorites:












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Michael Pineda, Twins reach agreement on $20M, 2-year deal

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Right-hander Michael Pineda is returning to the Minnesota Twins as the sides have reached an agreement on a two-year, $20 million contract, sources tell ESPN.

FOX 9 of Minneapolis was the first to report on the agreement.

Pineda will begin the 2020 season serving the remainder of a 60-game suspension that began in early September. He originally was given an 80-game ban after testing positive for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide, which can mask other substances, but the penalty was reduced to 60 upon appeal.

The 6-foot-7, 280-pound right-hander still has about five weeks of the suspension left to serve, meaning he’ll be available for only five months of the coming season. Pineda apologized to the Twins following the ban for his “error in judgment,” saying he was given an over-the-counter medication by an acquaintance to help manage his weight.

The suspension was a big blow to the rotation for the AL Central champion Twins. One of the team’s steadiest starters, Pineda likely would have been near the top of the team’s playoff rotation; instead the Twins were swept by the New York Yankees in the AL Division Series.

Pineda’s presence in the rotation had been one of the most underappreciated improvements made by the Twins in 2019. Before the suspension, in his 26th start of the season, Pineda reached double-digit strikeouts for the first time since April 10, 2017, when he was with the Yankees. Pineda missed the second half of that season and, after signing with the Twins, all of 2018 while recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery.

In 14 starts prior to the suspension, Pineda was 10-4 with a 2.96 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 82 innings. His success was attributed to better command and a much-improved changeup.

Pineda, who was 11-5 with a 4.01 ERA for the season, pitched 146 innings and missed bonus opportunities of $500,000 apiece for 150 innings and each additional 10 through 200. He also had to forfeit $989,247 of his $8 million salary last season due to the ban.

In 2014, Pineda was suspended 10 games while with the Yankees for putting pine tar on his neck to help get a better grip during a game against the Boston Red Sox.

Pineda was traded to the Yankees by the Seattle Mariners after a spectacular 2011 debut season that saw him finish fifth in AL Rookie of the Year voting and earn an All-Star selection.

Overall, Pineda is 51-46 with a 4.04 ERA and 827 strikeouts in six seasons with the Twins, Yankees and Mariners.

ESPN’s Keith Law and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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