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Rodriguez cleared to ramp up rehab program

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez has been cleared to ramp up some of his activities after a recent visit with Dr. George Theodore, the resident foot specialist for the Red Sox.

This doesn't mean Rodriguez is ready to pitch again, but it's an encouraging sign considering the severity of the right ankle sprain he suffered on July 14.

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BOSTON -- Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez has been cleared to ramp up some of his activities after a recent visit with Dr. George Theodore, the resident foot specialist for the Red Sox.

This doesn't mean Rodriguez is ready to pitch again, but it's an encouraging sign considering the severity of the right ankle sprain he suffered on July 14.

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"Actually, it was very positive," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "Now he can do other activities besides playing catch. I saw him today doing a few exercises with the ankle and with our therapist down there. He can run on the treadmill, so I know it's not a huge step, it's not getting on the mound, but that's a good step for what we want him to do."

As has happened too many times in his career, Rodriguez was emerging into a force just before an untimely injury struck.

The hope is that he will be back for the stretch run to help fortify a starting rotation that includes Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and the recently-acquired Nathan Eovaldi.

While Rodriguez had been tentative to return from injuries in the past, Cora thinks his demeanor is different this time.

"You talk to him and there's no hesitation. He believes that he's going to contribute this year, which is probably the most important thing," said Cora. "Everybody knows about his knee last year and how hesitant he was, and it seems like he was right because when they took care of it in the offseason he came in and he never complained about it and went about it the right way and he was a full go. I think mentally he's in a great place, and physically he's getting there."

Deadline buzz

While the Red Sox already made a couple of move in the weeks leading up to Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, acquiring Steve Pearce and Eovaldi, Cora is staying in-tuned with the latest developments, be it in his conversations with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski or following the rumor mill.

Ten years ago, Cora was a player on the Red Sox when general manager Theo Epstein made one of the most dramatic deals of all-time, sending Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers as part of a three-way deal that brought Jason Bay to Boston.

The Red Sox wound up losing Game 7 of the American League Championship Series to Price and the Rays. The Dodgers lost to the Phillies in the National League Championship Series.

"Yeah, I was at a Cheesecake Factory somewhere and I got a call from Manny," said Cora. "And he goes, 'I got traded.' I'm like, 'That's what you wanted, huh?' He said, 'No.' I'm like, 'Well, go to L.A. and do your thing.' And he did. Mannywood. We got a good player. Jason Bay was good for us and I think we just got hurt. We were limping and then David [Price] happened."

Cora reunites with Kapler

After managing several games against Tampa Bay's Kevin Cash already this season, Cora will go head-to-head with another ex-teammate over the next couple of days in Gabe Kapler. The Phillies' rookie manager played with the Red Sox from 2003-06, overlapping with Cora his final two seasons at Fenway.

"He was always thinking out of the box, looking at percentages and all that," said Cora. "Loved to talk the game. He had a good relationship with [former Red Sox coach] Bill Haselman, so they always talked about it. I don't know about the manager thing, but they were always thinking the game."

Red Sox host community event

Red Sox relievers Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier took part in the national PLAY campaign, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday afternoon. The program is focused on the importance of children living a healthy lifestyle and disability inclusion.

In 2014, the PLAY campaign became the first program in professional sports to include children with disabilities.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Eduardo Rodriguez