BOSTON -- Pitching from the main diamond at Fenway Park for the first time since he severely sprained his right ankle on July 9, Eduardo Rodriguez was "impressive" in a bullpen session on Sunday afternoon, according to manager Alex Cora."Eduardo, that was impressive, honestly," said Cora. "He threw a bullpen
BOSTON -- Pitching from the main diamond at Fenway Park for the first time since he severely sprained his right ankle on July 9, Eduardo Rodriguez was "impressive" in a bullpen session on Sunday afternoon, according to manager Alex Cora.
"Eduardo, that was impressive, honestly," said Cora. "He threw a bullpen and that was good to see. I don't know yet what's the next step, but to see him on the mound, like I told you guys that [day when he had the injury], that didn't look too promising. That was good news right there."
Rodriguez was as enthused as his manager.
"It was really good to throw off a mound," said Rodriguez. "Feels good mechanically, my shoulder and everything. I threw 25, 30 pitches or something like that."
As far as a potential return date, the Red Sox will let that play out. Typically, it takes a pitcher at least as long to build back up as the time missed. So in Rodriguez's case, since he has been out for three weeks, he could be back by late August or early September.
"I don't know," Rodriguez said. "I have to see, and follow the plan we have, sit together and just wait for them to tell me what it's going to be."
Before the injury, Rodriguez was in the middle of one of the best stretches of his career. For the season, he is 11-3 with a 3.44 ERA in 19 starts.
Following Sunday's side session, Rodriguez is confident that momentum will carry over once he returns.
"I threw all my pitches today," he said. "I've been keeping my shoulder in shape, throwing everything. I just wanted to get on the mound and throw everything, and it feels great."
No Sale in Toronto
When ace Chris Sale was placed on the disabled list last week with inflammation in his left shoulder, the initial plan was that he would miss just one start and return on Wednesday for the second game of the upcoming series in Toronto. But the Red Sox announced before Sunday's 5-4 win over the Yankees that Christopher Johnson will again fill in for Sale during the next turn through the rotation.
Cora said the latest goal is for Sale to return next weekend in Baltimore, when the Sox play a four-game series, including a doubleheader on Saturday.
"He played catch today," Cora said. "He's OK, but he hasn't thrown a bullpen [session]. At the same time, you start looking at the schedule, and I don't want him pitching in Philly. I don't want him to hit. So, we kind of maneuver the schedule and see Baltimore as most likely."
Third baseman Rafael Devers is still set to return from his left hamstring injury on the first day he is eligible, which is Wednesday in Toronto.
Cora is hoping that Devers can play one Minor League game at Class A Lowell on Monday before flying to Toronto on Tuesday.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler and catcher Blake Swihart, both of whom are also sidelined with hamstring strains, are expected to return when they are first eligible on Aug. 14, when the Red Sox open a series in Philadelphia.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.