MLB

Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez returns to the mound after nearly a year off due to COVID-19, myocarditis

The feel-good moment from spring training play on Friday had to be Red Sox left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez getting the ball for a start against the Rays in Fort Myers’ JetBlue Park. 

Rodriguez worked 2 2/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits while striking out two. 

The box score wasn’t really the point, though. Manager Alex Cora said as much afterward, via the Providence Journal

“Honestly, I think the results don’t really matter today. For him to be on the mound, that’s a step in the right direction. Just to see him out there is refreshing for everybody.”

Rodriguez threw 46 pitches, a pretty big workload for this early in the spring, and didn’t appear to show any lingering side effects from the condition. 

“I really enjoyed to be back out there,” Rodriguez said (providencejournal.com). “After the first couple of pitches, I realized that everything is all right.”

Rodriguez missed all of the 2020 season after contracting COVID-19 and then a rare side effect of the virus, myocarditis. It’s a treatable heart condition, but it was enough to keep him out for the year. 

He’s now been cleared, 100 percent, for all baseball activities and appears to be back to his old self, physically. It’s great news. 

From the Red Sox’s perspective, last season was a disaster on the mound. Not only did they lose Rodriguez, but Chris Sale missed the whole year after Tommy John surgery and Nathan Eovaldi was held to nine starts. Only Martin Perez made a full schedule of starts and 16 different starting pitchers were used, a outrageous number for a 60-game schedule. 

The result was fairly predictable. The Red Sox offense posted the best batting average in the AL while finishing third in OPS and fifth in runs and the team still finished 24-36 and never contended even for the eighth AL playoff spot. 

This time around, Rodriguez and Eovaldi are expected to anchor the rotation in front of Perez and new addition Garrett Richards. Sale will likely be ready to join the rotation mid-summer. 

Perhaps the bounce-back started with Rodriguez showing everyone, including himself, that he is fully recovered from last season’s scare.



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