SAN DIEGO -- Nate Eovaldi, a 21-year-old right-hander at Double-A Chattanooga, is the leading candidate to make the Saturday night start for the Dodgers in Arizona in place of the injured rookie Rubby De La Rosa, who will undergo Tommy John elbow reconstruction performed by Dr. James Andrews in Florida on Tuesday.
Manager Don Mattingly wouldn't announce a Saturday starter on Wednesday, but he did rule out Clayton Kershaw, who will start Sunday. Because of Thursday's day off, Kershaw could have come back for Saturday on regular rest. Instead, he will get an extra day.
Eovaldi conveniently started on Monday, so a Saturday start would be on his regular five-day cycle. Another indication that it will be Eovaldi is that he had previously been pushed back in the Chattanooga rotation to coincide with Hiroki Kuroda's day to pitch, presumably so Eovaldi could have been the replacement if Kuroda been traded.
Eovaldi is 6-5 with a 2.62 ERA at Chattanooga. The Dodgers were able to select him in the 11th round of the 2008 Draft because he had Tommy John surgery in his junior year of high school. The Chattanooga pitching staff has already sent De La Rosa, Javy Guerra and Josh Lindblom to the Dodgers this season.
John Ely, promoted to replace De La Rosa, is in the Dodgers' bullpen.