Valdez impresses after E-Rod's early exit

Starter leaves game vs. Yankees with migraine symptoms

July 24th, 2021

BOSTON -- After the first inning of Friday night’s 6-2 Red Sox win over the Yankees, it appeared was locked in and poised for another solid outing.

The lefty cruised through a 1-2-3 first, including a three-pitch strikeout of Giancarlo Stanton. Rodriguez then opened the second inning with a walk, a single and an RBI double, before exiting the game with migraine symptoms.

“He was having trouble concentrating,” manager Alex Cora said. “Hopefully this is something that we can contain, hopefully he doesn’t miss a start.”

After surrendering an RBI double to Brett Gardner, Rodriguez went to cover the plate, grabbing his lower back as he appeared to be in discomfort. Rodriguez motioned for Cora and the training staff as he walked back to the mound.

“I thought it was an injury,” Cora said. “Went out there and talked to him and he was telling me how he felt, what was going on, you know. ‘Just take a deep breath and we’ll take you out of the game.’ That’s what we do. You’ve got to take care of players -- I mean, that’s the most important thing. And now, we’ve just got to see how he reacts tonight, how he feels tomorrow and we go from there.”

After Rodriguez left the game, a quietness fell over the crowd of 34,922 at Fenway Park. Moments later, fans were back on their feet, celebrating as walked off the mound, pumping his fist after striking out the side to end the inning.

Valdez, who was called up from Triple-A Worcester prior to the game, pitched three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out a career-high seven batters.

“Valdy was amazing,” Cora said. “He came in throwing 95 [mph] sinkers and obviously he has a good changeup.”

The right-hander’s seven strikeouts on Friday matched his season total against the Yankees in 2020, and his three innings marked the longest outing for him since Aug. 13, 2020, against the Rays.

Friday marked the beginning of Valdez’s second stint with the big league club this season. From April to May, the 29-year-old appeared in 20 games for the Red Sox, pitching to a 4.24 ERA with 21 strikeouts.

Yacksel Ríos, Garrett Whitlock and Darwinzon Hernandez followed Valdez with five scoreless innings, and Brandon Workman recorded the final three outs, allowing one run on two hits.