By the time the Red Sox open the 2021 season, lefty Eduardo Rodriguez plans on being a full go.
This comes after a difficult summer in which Rodriguez first suffered through COVID-19 and was then diagnosed with an inflammatory heart condition called myocarditis.
Rodriguez was on track to pitch Opening Day in 2020 after his breakout ’19 season, but instead he didn’t throw a single pitch.
“I would say I will be 100 percent ready for next season,” Rodriguez said Thursday in an interview with MLB Network Radio on Sirius/XM. “I feel great. Like [chief baseball officer] Chaim Bloom said a couple of days ago, I’m going to start throwing, I’m going to start my throwing program. My workouts are going to start next week, like, lifting weights and all that. I’ve been doing the bike a little bit.”
In the summer, Rodriguez wasn’t permitted to do any physical exercise. At the end of September, the Red Sox announced that he was able to start a walking program.
For Rodriguez, things have progressed well from there.
“It’s early, but things look really good so far,” said Bloom. “Again, as we talked about last time, this is a little bit of a different path, so we have to stay flexible. But so far he’s doing as well as we could possibly hope.”
The return of Rodriguez is highly significant for a team that struggled mightily with starting pitching while finishing 24-36 in 2020.
If Rodriguez reaches his expectation of being ready for the start of the season, he can hold down the top spot in the rotation until Chris Sale returns from Tommy John surgery in June or July.
After years of strong stretches that were often interrupted by injuries, Rodriguez at last put it all together in 2019, going 19-6 while making 34 starts and throwing 203 1/3 innings.