Nathan Eovaldi expected to rejoin Boston bullpen Saturday

Nathan Eovaldi watches from the dugout.

BALTIMORE (AP) — Nathan Eovaldi is poised to return to the Boston pitching staff as a reliever after missing three months with an elbow injury.

The right-hander passed his final test Thursday, striking out the side in a one-inning rehab appearance with Triple-A Pawtucket. Barring any setback, Eovaldi will come off the 60-day injured list on Saturday in Baltimore.

Signed as a free agent in December, Eovaldi made four starts for the Red Sox before being placed on the injured list on April 20.

The 29-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery in 2007 and 2016, and Boston will be judicious in rationing his workload.

Manager Alex Cora said, “We obviously have to protect him. … The game will dictate how we’re going to use him.”

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Cora said Eovaldi would be used “in high-level situations,” perhaps as a closer.

“Obviously we’ll use him late in games,” Cora said. “We know that he can do the job. He’s going to help us get better.”