Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, who didn't pitch this season due to myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), flew to Boston this week to undergo medical tests.
"Yeah, he's doing well actually," said Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke. "He flew back to Boston, just got into town yesterday. I don't know what the results were on the tests that he took, but I can find that out, [and] he seems to be doing well."
Rodriguez likely got myocarditis as an after-effect of dealing with COVID-19 in June.
The tests Rodriguez underwent at Massachusetts General Hospital were to gauge how well he is recovering from the myocarditis.
The top priority is for Rodriguez to have a fully healthy heart. Once that is the case, the Red Sox will outline a plan for him.
"Especially with him, I think the biggest question is, 'When is he cleared to start activities again?'" said Roenicke. "I think to build him up properly for next year, hopefully he can start getting on a strength program within the next couple months, make sure he's strong enough going into next year.
"If we're still looking at taking care of him in two or three months and he can't do physical activity, it's going to take a long time to build him up. So hopefully he's cleared before then and he can start getting his strength. You lose a lot when you've been down as long as he has [been], and I know the physical part of it -- especially with a starting pitcher trying to last through the year is pretty important what they do in the offseason to build up that kind of endurance to be able to last the season."
Pitching coach Dave Bush acknowledged the team will have to put a lot of thought into how to ramp Rodriguez back up.
"For a guy like Eduardo Rodriguez, 200 innings last year and zero this year, we're still figuring out exactly what we can expect from him next year and what's a reasonable amount so he can pitch and be part of the rotation," said Bush. "But we also want to make sure that we don't overdo it and don't put him in danger at that point. We're working on it."
Bush – who was the pitching coordinator for the Red Sox before this season -- goes way back with the talented righty from the University of Missouri.
"Tanner's a cool case for me, because he's the first one I saw all the way through," said Bush. "I went and saw him when he was still an amateur at Missouri. He pitched in Fort Myers, [Fla.], that spring, so I got to see him while he was still in college. I was in the room when we picked him and got to see him at every step along the way in the Minor Leagues.
"And then [I] was here with him the other day when he made his debut. To be able to see one player all the way through is a pretty cool and unusual experience. In some ways, he's a lot different. In other ways, he's still very similar. Look, he composed himself really well, he competed very well. His command was good. He did a lot of the things we asked him to do the last couple of years. He was prepared. He was composed and prepared -- and ready. It was fun to see all the way around."
Houck's second start -- and Fenway Park debut -- comes on Sunday against the Yankees. Roenicke said he had no hesitation about pitching the team's No. 10 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, against such a dangerous lineup.
"I think the first start was important for us to match him up well," Roenicke said. "Beyond that, I think, 'OK, he already had a great start. Let's see what he does against the Yankees.' And I know they got a lot of their guys are back in the lineup again, so that lineup is what we knew it was -- they can score some runs. Think it's a good time to put him there, and you can't keep avoiding too many people. There's a lot of good teams with a lot of good lineups, and to try to avoid different teams doesn't seem to work out very well."
Pivetta debut could be Tuesday
There has been a great deal of interest in righty Nick Pivetta, the talented pitcher the Red Sox acquired from the Phillies for Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree a month ago.
To this point, Pivetta has underachieved in his career, but the Red Sox are excited to see what they can get out of the 27-year-old.
That process is likely to start on Tuesday, when Pivetta gets called up from the alternate training site to make his first start in a Boston uniform, though Roenicke won't commit to that day just yet.
"You guys have it figured out pretty good, but I'm not going to go there right now," said Roenicke. "We're looking at him. We're trying to figure out the best place to put him, and if everything goes well, [he] comes out and his bullpen [sessions] are good after this last start, then we'll see how we can get him in."
Red Sox add Yorke to pool
In an interesting move -- considering the season ends a week from Sunday -- the Red Sox added Nick Yorke, their first-round pick (17th overall) in this year’s Draft, to their player pool on Wednesday.
Yorke, who is ranked the club's No. 11 prospect by MLB Pipeline, will report to the alternate training site at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I. The right-handed hitter just graduated from Archbishop Mitty High. While Yorke went well ahead of projections in the Draft, the Red Sox love his bat and were able to sign him at roughly $1 million under his slot value of $3,609,700.
By doing so, the Sox had the money to sign third-round pick Blaze Jordan, a highly-touted slugger from Mississippi.
The Red Sox took injured righty Colten Brewer out of the 60-player pool and have one open spot.