"Nate will start the game tomorrow," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said.
Eovaldi hasn't appeared in a game since July 18, when he threw six scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. Despite the zeros, Eovaldi's velocity was down slightly in the outing, and the Rangers decided to push his subsequent start back for extra rest.
Eovaldi ended up going on the IL with a right forearm strain, and he hasn't pitched since then. He began throwing to live hitters in the latter part of August and progressed to bullpen sessions, the last of which was Sunday. Eovaldi checked out fine in Sunday's workout, and Bochy announced his return following Houston's 13-6 drubbing of the Rangers in Monday's opener of a key three-game series at Globe Life Field.
At the time Eovaldi was injured, he was enjoying a Cy Young-caliber season for the then-frontrunning Rangers. He ranked second in the American League with a 2.69 ERA in 19 starts, posting an 11-3 record with 111 strikeouts over a league-high 123⅔ innings.
While Eovaldi was routinely pitching late into games before getting hurt, the Rangers will be careful with their All-Star righty during his return outing.
"We'll see how well he'll go," Bochy said. "We'll keep a close eye on him, trust me."
With Monday's defeat, the Rangers dropped into third place in the AL West, one game back of both Houston and the Seattle Mariners. Texas has lost 13 of its past 17 games, and the club's ERA during that span (5.58) ranks 25th in the majors.