E-Rod's birthday gift; Devers finds groove

Devers heating up; May tickets to go on sale Friday

April 7th, 2021

BOSTON -- Eduardo Rodriguez turned 28 years old on Wednesday. However, he will get his best gift a day late when he takes the ball for the Red Sox on Thursday in Baltimore for what will be his first regular-season start in 587 days.

It has been a long time coming for the lefty, who had COVID-19 just before Summer Camp last year, and then myocarditis that prevented him from pitching for the Red Sox in 2020.

And when he was ready to pitch Opening Day this season, an untimely case of “dead arm” forced him into one more annoyance -- starting the season on the injured list.

But now he finally gets to go back out there and claim his place atop the Red Sox’s pitching rotation.

“I would say it will mean a lot because of everything that I went through last year,” said Rodriguez. “I’m just happy to have the opportunity to be back in baseball and be back to starting [on Thursday]. That’s what it means to me. It’s been a year and [a half] since I’ve been on the mound in a real game, so I’m going to really appreciate being on the mound.”

When the Red Sox made the decision to place Rodriguez on the IL to open the season and backdated it to March 29 -- the furthest they were allowed to per the rules -- it ruled out the chance of a birthday start.

This will be the third time in Rodriguez’s career he has started on the day after his birthday.

“He really wanted to pitch today because it’s his birthday, which, good for him,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “But for now, he’ll be OK for tomorrow. He will be good to go.”

The Red Sox have already created a roster spot for Rodriguez by optioning No. 7 prospect Tanner Houck to the alternate training site. Boston will play with a 25-man roster on Wednesday and add Rodriguez on Thursday.

In 2019, Rodriguez was a force for the Sox, going 19-6 with 213 strikeouts and making all of his starts -- 34 of them -- for the first time in his career.

“The only thing that I’m trying to improve this year is trying to throw more strikes -- trying to get deeper in the game and throw more strikes like I was doing in Spring Training,” Rodriguez said. “I did it in Spring Training. I know how to do it, so that’s something that I really want to do, and keep doing.”

Devers finds groove
After starting the season with three hitless games, third baseman Rafael Devers was an underrated contributor in Tuesday’s 6-5 comeback win with two hard singles -- the second of which drove in the game-tying run in the bottom of the 11th.

And what Cora liked about that equalizer is that Devers went to the opposite field.

“I think the lefty-lefty base hit told me more about where he’s at. To be able to track the ball and shoot it the other way, that’s a good sign,” Cora said. “He stayed on the breaking ball, he hit it hard to right field and the other one was a good one so hopefully he can start with [Ryan] Yarbrough today and hit a few balls to the left-center gap and take off from there.”

May tickets available
The Red Sox announced that single-game tickets for May will go on sale to the to the general public beginning on Friday at 10 a.m. ET on redsox.com/tickets.

Similar to the sale of April games, ticket prices will fluctuate based on demand and variables such as the date, number of tickets available, opponent and weather conditions. The dynamic pricing model is consistent with current practices implemented by the majority of Major League Baseball teams and throughout other leagues and allows the club to accommodate potential changes to capacity more easily throughout the season.

Tickets will be sold online in pods of two and four with a limit of one pod per game for each fan. Mastercard is the preferred payment of the Boston Red Sox.