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Dana Eveland's sinker: One reason why the Rays released James Loney

It has a LOT of run.

Brian Blanco/Getty Images

It was easy to miss.

Dana Eveland's arm slot and ESPN's offset camera angle combined to minimize its visibility in the broadcast, and we were all busy complaining about how terrible Logan Morrison's "James Loney at first base impression" was. But the run on Eveland's sinker was absurd.

Look here from Brooks Baseball.

Yes, those pitches are literally "off the chart."

The average velocity on Eveland's seven sinkers was 91 mph, the average vertical break was 1.3 inches, and the average horizontal break was 14.2 inches.

For comparison, among pitchers with more than 30 innings pitched last season, the highest average run on a two-seam fastball was Aaron Loup at 12.6 inches. That 1.3 inches of rise would have placed Eveland in the top 10 of most-sinking sinkers as well.

Of course, the average probably won't stay that high. Eveland has never been quite that extreme over the course of a whole season, and seven pitches on opening day isn't a sample size. But let's just stop and note that Eveland is in fact capable of throwing a bizarre, truly unique pitch.

The Rays could have stashed Loney on their bench while they continued to work on trades for their one-time first baseman, but instead they used that roster spot for an eighth reliever, electing to bring Eveland to the majors immediately.

In a spring interview with Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune, Eveland indicated he was willing to be sent to Durham, but that he signed with the Rays because he wanted a chance to work with pitching coach Jim Hickey, and to see if the Rays could make him into a better pitcher. Eveland has one potentially-outstanding tool, and it seems like the Rays intend to use it.