Nearing free agency, Eovaldi glad to return at Fenway 

BOSTON — Four years ago at this time of year, Nathan Eovaldi was getting ready to punch his ticket into Red Sox postseason lore with an October that helped vault his team to a World Series championship. 

Thursday represented a much different time for the man referred to as “Nasty Nate.” 

Eovaldi, making his return from his second stint on the injured list this season, might be in his final days with the Red Sox.

Though his arm strength wasn’t at 100 percent given the time he has missed this season — “I don’t want any questions about his velocity after the game,” manager Alex Cora said before the game — the veteran leader turned in the type of dependable performance that has defined his time in Boston. 

Over 4 2/3 innings and 72 pitches (51 strikes), Eovaldi held a tough offensive club to two runs (one earned) on five hits. He walked none and struck out three and took a no decision in his team’s 5-3 win over the Orioles.

“I felt really good today, and I feel like typically you can kind of feel if you’re going to be sore or not coming out of it, and I feel really good coming out of this one today and building for this next start,” Eovaldi said. “I like the way I’m heading into the offseason and the way I’m finishing up.”

Cora removed Eovaldi mid-inning, giving the Fenway fans a…

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