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Nathan Eovaldi experiences setback in rehab

It’s no longer clear when the pitcher will return.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bad news for anyone who has been counting down to the return of pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. The Rays would-be starter has experienced an unexpected setback in his rehab — which had until now been running smoothly and ahead of schedule.

According to Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin, Eovaldi has been benched with a right rib muscle strain, and will be forced to miss his next rehab start. He had been expected to rejoin the Rays as soon as the end of May, but with this new injury forcing him to the sideline again, it’s unclear when he will be back.

Initially, when it was learned he would need surgery to remove loose bodies in his elbow, it seemed likely he would miss at least the first half of the season to rehab, but Eovaldi had defied expectations up to this point. His sooner-than-expected rehab had most fans excited by the prospect of his rejoining the team much sooner than anticipated, but it appears we’ll have to wait a bit longer.

There is no official word from the club yet regarding Eovaldi’s new recovery timeline.