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Eovaldi excited for return to Yankee Stadium

Right-hander to start Friday for Rays against former team
MLB.com @ladsonbill24

NEW YORK -- Rays right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will make his fourth start of the season on Friday night, and it will be against the Yankees -- the team he pitched for in 2015-16.

It will be Eovaldi's first start at Yankee Stadium since Aug. 4, 2016, when he pitched seven innings in a 4-1 loss to the Mets. After getting a start against the Red Sox six days later, Eovaldi would undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season and all of 2017. It was his second time having the surgery, the first came when he was in high school in 2007.

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NEW YORK -- Rays right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will make his fourth start of the season on Friday night, and it will be against the Yankees -- the team he pitched for in 2015-16.

It will be Eovaldi's first start at Yankee Stadium since Aug. 4, 2016, when he pitched seven innings in a 4-1 loss to the Mets. After getting a start against the Red Sox six days later, Eovaldi would undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season and all of 2017. It was his second time having the surgery, the first came when he was in high school in 2007.

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"I'm excited to be out on the mound [at Yankee Stadium], just competing in the lights against those guys over there," Eovaldi said.

During his two years with the Yankees, Eovaldi was 23-11 with a 4.45 ERA in 51 games (48 starts). He was known for being one of the hardest throwers in baseball, often clocked at 98 mph. Eovaldi said his best memory as a member of the Yankees was going to the postseason as a Wild Card team in 2015. How much did he enjoy his time in pinstripes?

"The fans are the best part about it," Eovaldi said. "They come out every game. They are there supporting you throughout the entire game. To me, that was the most exciting part about it. It makes it that much more fun."

Injury report
• Right-hander Chris Archer (left abdominal strain) is well enough to play catch, according to Rays manager Kevin Cash. It was only last week that Archer had a minor setback when he felt a little soreness.

Adeiny Hechavarria (hamstring tightness) and Kevin Kiermaier (thumb sprain) are expected to play for Triple-A Durham on Friday.

• Left-hander Anthony Banda had Tommy John surgery on Thursday. Ranked as the Rays' No. 15 prospect, he appeared in three games and had a 3.68 ERA this season.

Draft signings
The Rays agreed to terms with outfielder Nick Schnell and two-way player Tanner Dodson. Schnell was the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 Draft after hitting .535 with 15 home runs and 36 RBIs for Roncalli High School in Indianapolis. Dodson, the 71st overall pick, hit .320 with a home run, 27 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 54 games as an outfielder for Cal, and he went 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA and 11 saves in 19 relief appearances.

Draft Tracker: Every Rays pick

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Tampa Bay Rays, Nathan Eovaldi