Myocarditis Shuts Down Red Sox’ Eduardo Rodriguez for Remainder of 2020 Season

Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will not pitch this season, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom announced Saturday.

The announcement comes as Rodriguez has been dealing with myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, while recovering from COVID-19, which the 27-year-old tested positive for while at home in Miami early last month.

Although mild, the myocarditis Rodriguez is dealing with is still present, resulting in him being shut down for the remainder of 2020. As noted by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, “the prognosis hasn’t changed but the timetable has.”

Bloom said as much when speaking with reporters Saturday, stating that, “While we remain very optimistic he will make a full recovery, due to the fact that it is persistent, and the amount of care we need to take with this, he’s not going to be able to come back and pitch this year.”

Again, the Sox fully expect Rodriguez to recover from this seeing how the myocarditis has not damaged the Venezuela native’s heart “and is not expected to impact him over the long-term,” That being said, “The recovery should be complete. It’s just a question of time.”

Heading into the season, Rodriguez was slated to be Boston’s No. 1 starter with Chris Sale going down for the year due to Tommy John surgery and David Price getting dealt to the Dodgers.

Even when the idea of Rodriguez starting on Opening Day against the Orioles last month was thrown out the window due to his bout with COVID-19, it still appeared likely that the southpaw would be a welcome addition to the Sox’ rotation sometime later in the season.

Now, the Red Sox will have to endure as they have for the first week of the 2020 campaign. That being without their best left-handed starter.

“It certainly makes the mountain a little bit higher,” Bloom said in regards to being without Rodriguez for the remainder of the season. He also mentioned the fact that the Sox are ‘monitoring the market and also working with pitchers in Pawtucket.’

While the Red Sox scour the market for more pitching, here’s to wishing Eduardo Rodriguez the best and hoping he undergoes a full recovery so that he is all systems go in 2021.

Just Three Games Into Season, Lack of Starting Pitching Depth Already Coming Into Light for Red Sox

The Red Sox went into the 2020 season with three true starting pitchers — Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, and Ryan Weber — on their Opening Day roster. The other two spots in the Sox’ rotation were going to go to openers.

Now three games into the 60-game campaign, Red Sox starting pitching has been a bit of a mixed bag of sorts against the Baltimore Orioles of all teams. Eovaldi impressed on Friday with six innings of one-run ball and a win, Perez struggled in his Boston debut but did end his outing with three scoreless innings in a losing effort on Saturday, and Weber had issues with his command in the rotation’s shortest start of the weekend on Sunday.

All together, Red Sox starting pitchers own an ERA of 11.99 (11 earned runs in 14 2/3 total innings pitched) thus far. Take that for what it’s worth, and then remember that as they prepare for a two-game series against the Mets this week, the two “starters” they are planning on going with have amassed a total of zero career games started in the majors.

Those two “starters,” or openers, for Boston on Monday and Tuesday will be left-handers Josh Osich and Matt Hall, both of whom were acquired by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom over the winter.

Osich, claimed off waivers by Boston from the White Sox last October, made his Red Sox debut and tossed a scoreless ninth inning in Saturday’s 7-2 loss to Baltimore.

Hall, meanwhile, was acquired by Boston in a trade that saw minor-league catcher Jhon Nunez go to the Detroit Tigers back in January. The 27-year-old impressed during Summer Camp, but has yet to make his Red Sox debut.

With Osich, the plan for the 31-year-old is to pitch an inning or two against New York on Monday before the recently-signed Zack Godley enters in a bulk role.

“It’s the left-handed pitcher against their left-handed lineup,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said in regards to opening with Oscih against the Mets. “Just trying to get through an inning or two, then go to more of a bulk guy. So that’s the plan right now. We’ll see how it goes.”

As for Hall, expect Roenicke to have more to say about the southpaw following Monday’s bout with the Mets at Fenway Park.

Red Sox Shut Down Eduardo Rodriguez Due to COVID-19 Recovery Complications

Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez has been shut down from all baseball activities due to minor complications related to his recovery from COVID-19, his manager Ron Roenicke told reporters Thursday.

Per Roenicke, the Sox’ medical staff discovered these “minor complications” before the decision to shut down Rodriguez was made.

The 27-year-old had tested positive for COVID-19 while at home in Miami earlier this month, and even though he would test negative right now, Rodriguez has still “not physically recovered” from his bout with his virus.

As disheartening as this news may sound, Roenicke is viewing it as only a “setback” and is fully confident Rodriguez “will be available to pitch at some point in 2020.” That is probably the case because, as the Sox skipper later clarified, what’s currently hampering Rodriguez has been prevalent in other COVID-19 cases as well.

“The news that we need to shut [Rodriguez] down for a period of time is obviously rough on him,” Roenicke said Thursday. “It is mild. He knows that.”

Rodriguez, along with fellow left-handers Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor, was placed on the 10-day injured list on July 14 due to testing positive for the virus.

The Venezuela national re-joined his club over the weekend and threw a bullpen session at Fenway Park this past Saturday, but it now appears that he will not be throwing off a mound anytime soon, although Roenicke is hoping the southpaw will only miss a week’s worth of time.

Of course, this coronavirus has proven to be somewhat unpredictable. For all the talk about how harmless it is for people in his age group, it was quite jarring to hear about what Rodriguez, a 27-year-old professional athlete, had to endure while he was sick.

For more on that, I recommend checking out this story from MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith.

Red Sox Relievers Darwniznon Hernandez, Josh Taylor ‘Still a Ways Away’ From Returning After COVID-19 Bouts

Red Sox left-handed relievers Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor are not close to returning to the team anytime soon, manager Ron Roenicke said Wednesday on his weekly segment with WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni, and Fauria.

Hernandez and Taylor both tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and were placed on the 10-day injured list along with fellow southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez on July 14.

Top prospect Bobby Dalbec, who also tested positive for the virus, was cleared to return two weekends ago and avoided a stint on the injured list.

Both relievers were cleared to return to baseball activities earlier this week, but neither have been able to put together a lengthy bullpen session to this point.

“They are gassed after 20 pitches” Roenicke said of Hernandez and Taylor on Wednesday. “It tells me that they are still a ways away. It would be nice, knowing they are relievers, you don’t have to have the build up with the innings, but you still need to build them up enough to where they pitch one inning, they can come back the next night or the night after, and they’re not there right now.”

Added the Sox skipper: “The velocity that these guys depend on…right now, they don’t have that same stuff. So, it could be a while. We’re certainly trying to get them back as soon as we can, but that physical part of it, we want to do right by them.”

Hernandez and Taylor proved to be key cogs out of the Red Sox bullpen during their rookie seasons in 2019. The former, who turned 23 in December, posted a 3.95 ERA and .721 OPS against over 28 appearances and 27 1/3 innings of work as a reliever, while the latter, who turned 27 in March, posted a 3.11 ERA and .638 OPS against over 51 appearances and 46 1/3 innings of work as a reliever.

In terms of preparedness, Hernandez is likely closer to in-game action than Taylor is seeing how he was able to throw while self-isolating at his home in Venezuela, while Taylor had to self-isolate in a Boston hotel room.

 

Eduardo Rodriguez Tweets ‘I’m Back’ as He Joins Red Sox at Summer Camp

A la Michael Jordan announcing his return to the NBA in 1995, Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez announced his return to baseball on Saturday with two simple words: “I’m back.”

Albeit Rodriguez announced his return via Twitter rather than a press release and was not coming out of retirement but rather a bout with coronavirus, it was still encouraging to see that the 27-year-old is indeed back in Boston and will report to Summer Camp at Fenway Park on Saturday.

Per Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke, the plan for Rodriguez, as well as fellow left-hander Josh Taylor, is to simply “just play catch” Saturday while also “try[ing] to slowly get them back into where they need to be and to evaluate where they are.”

Rodriguez and Taylor were two of four Sox players who, at least publicly, tested positive for COVID-19, with Bobby Dalbec and Darwinzon Hernandez being the other two.

Dalbec was cleared to return to baseball activities last weekend, but it’s been a different story for the trio of southpaws as they were all placed on the 10-day injured list this past Tuesday.

That being said, all three have in Boston for at least the last 24-48 hours, with Hernandez flying in from Venezuela on Thursday night and Rodriguez flying in from Miami on Friday all while Taylor has been self-isolating in a hotel in the city.

Because Taylor was stuck in a hotel room while Hernandez and Rodriguez could at least throw at their respective homes, Roenicke has some concerns about where the lefty reliever stands in terms of being prepared for the upcoming season.

“I’m a little bit more concerned about him because he was stuck in that hotel room and not throwing at all other than maybe throwing into a pillow or a mattress or whatever he’s doing,” Roenicke said of Taylor via Zoom. “So we really need to keep our eyes on him and make sure he’s ready when we activate him.”

As for Rodriguez, the Venezuela native was originally supposed to be Boston’s Opening Day starter, but that responsibility has since been handed over to Nathan Eovaldi now that Rodriguez will begin the season on the IL. That does not necessarily mean that the 19-game winner from a year ago will miss too much time though, according to Roenicke.

“When [Rodriguez is] ready, when he starts throwing his bullpens — he’ll do some up and down bullpens — and when (pitching coach) Dave (Bush) thinks he’s ready we’ll start doing the simulated games and the live BPs,” said the Sox skipper. “Doesn’t mean he has to get his pitch count up to 85 or anything. If he’s feeling good and we think we can do this in-season, maybe he throws four innings (in a real game) and we think his four innings are going to be better than somebody else’s.”

Because of how “unsettled” their starting rotation is, as chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom put it, Rodriguez would certainly be a welcome addition to the Sox’ pitching staff whenever he is ready to return to game action.

 

Red Sox Place Eduardo Rodriguez, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor on 10-Day Injured List Following Positive COVID-19 Tests

In case you missed it from earlier, the Red Sox placed three pitchers — Eduardo Rodriguez, Darwinzon Hernandez, on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday.

The reason this trio of left-handers were placed on the IL has nothing do with physical ailments, however.

As you may recall, Rodriguez, Hernandez, and Taylor, as well as top prospect Bobby Dalbec, all tested positive for COVID-19 within the last few weeks. It’s unknown if these four are the only Red Sox players to test positive for the virus, but they are the ones who gave the club permission to reveal their names to the public.

Dalbec has since been cleared to report to Summer Camp at Fenway Park and arrived in Boston over the weekend. The pitchers are a different story, though, as Rodriguez is still at home in Miami, Hernandez is still at home in Venezuela, and Taylor is still self-isolating at a Boston hotel.

Rodriguez, entering his sixth fifth season with the Sox, was pegged to be the team’s Opening Day starter for next week’s season opener against the Baltimore Orioles. It now looks like that responsibility will be handed over to right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.

Hernandez and Taylor, meanwhile, proved to be two key cogs for Boston’s bullpen in their rookie seasons in 2019, and will likely not be available for the start of the 2020 campaign depending on how things go in the coming days.

Ryan Weber Primed for Spot in Red Sox’ Starting Rotation

At this time last year, Ryan Weber was putting the finishing touches on his best start of the 2019 International League season for the PawSox.

Pitching in front of medium-sized crowd at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, the right-hander twirled seven masterful innings against the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Blue Jays.

Over those seven frames, Weber yielded just one earned run on one hit and three walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night. 54 of the 86 pitches he threw went for strikes, and the strong performance lowered his ERA on the year by six-tenths of a run.

Four days later, Weber was recalled by the Red Sox for what would be his second of four big-league stints in 2019.

The numbers the sinker baller put up while with Boston last year were not phenomenal, but still, he kept his spot on the Sox’ 40-man roster throughout the winter and spring. On Saturday, he got the start for the Home Sox, or Red Team, in the club’s third installment of intrasquad play at Summer Camp.

Despite not always pitching with the right number of defenders behind him, Weber yielded one run over four innings of work on Saturday and finished with a final pitch count of 64, 47 of which were strikes.

With all the uncertainty surrounding Boston’s starting rotation, Weber looks to be the club’s No. 3 starter behind Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez if Eduardo Rodriguez is not ready for the start of the season later this month.

He’s not flashy, he doesn’t have eye-popping velocity, but even so, Weber, a former 22nd-round draft pick, can certainly be effective.

The soon-to-be-30-year-old hurler has been working to add a cut-fastball to his repertoire the last two years, and he believes that pitch, as well as his ability to adequately command the strike zone, can work to his full advantage.

“The command portion is really what makes me effective,” Weber told reporters via Zoom Saturday. “When my command is on, I’m throwing all five of my pitches to both sides of the plate in any count. When I’m out there and everything is working, it’s pretty fun.”

Weber’s pitch mix includes that aforementioned cutter, a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a slider, a curveball, and a changeup.

Prior to the coronavirus-induced shutdown in March, the Florida native had impressed the Red Sox in Grapefruit League play, as he fanned 11 over nine scoreless innings through his first three starts of the spring. He’s kept that up thus far at Summer Camp.

“Not much affects him,” Sox manager Ron Roenicke said in regards to Weber’s mental toughness. “He’s pretty low-key. He doesn’t have highs and lows. Those kinds of guys, as starting pitchers, seem to be a little more consistent.”

If he is indeed Boston’s No. 3 starter to open things up, Weber’s first start of the 2020 campaign would come against the Orioles on July 26, two weeks from Sunday.

Red Sox COVID-19 Updates: Bobby Dalbec Cleared to Play, Will Be at Fenway Park on Sunday

Four days after it was announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19, Red Sox power-hitting prospect Bobby Dalbec has been cleared to once again return to baseball activities, manager Ron Roenicke announced Saturday.

Per Roenicke, Dalbec worked out at the club’s alternate training site at Boston College’s Brighton campus on Saturday and the plan is for him to report to Fenway Park on Sunday.

“He hasn’t done much for a couple weeks so we went pretty slow with him,” Roenicke said in regards to what Dalbec has been up to lately. “Just hit some ground balls to him. He threw a little bit and then took some soft toss swings in the cage. He will join us tomorrow.”

Thus far, the Red Sox have announced that four players — Dalbec, Eduardo Rodriguez, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor — have tested positive for coronavirus. Dalbec had been feeling asymptomatic though, so it would appear that he has tested negative for the virus twice within a 24-hour span while also going 72 hours without a fever, as per Major League Baseball’s testing protocols.

Dalbec, who turned 25 last month, is regarded by MLB Pipeline as Boston’s No. 3 prospect behind Jeter Downs and Triston Casas.

The former Arizona Wildcat, selected by the Sox in the fourth round of the 2016 first-year player draft, was included on the club’s initial 47-man Summer Camp player pool.

Capable of playing both corner infield positions, Dalbec’s path to the majors is currenty blocked by the likes of Rafael Devers, Mitch Moreland, and so on. Because of that, he will likely start the 2020 season as a member of the Red Sox taxi squad in Pawtucket.

As for the other three players who have tested positive for COVID-19, Rodriguez remains at his Miami home, Hernandez is currently in Venezuela, and Taylor is self-isolating at a hotel in Boston. In other words, Dalbec is the first of the bunch to be cleared to return to the team.

Red Sox’ Eduardo Rodriguez, Bobby Dalbec Test Positve for COVID-19

Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez and first/third baseman Bobby Dalbec have tested positive for COVID-19, manager Ron Roenicke announced Tuesday.

Per Roenicke, Rodriguez is feeling better and still believes he can be ready for the start of the 2020 season.

“Rodriguez wants to be ready for Opening Day but we’ll have to see how it goes,” the Sox skipper told reporters via Zoom. “The medical team will follow him, give him instructions.”

For the time being, the 27-year-old will remain at home in Miami, where he was orginally exposed to the virus, before traveling to Boston.

As for Dalbec, Boston’s top power-hitting prospect had yet to work out with the team at Fenway Park for the start of Summer Camp, and now we know why that is.

By testing positive for COVID-19, Rodriguez and Dalbec join left-handers Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor as Red Sox players who have contracted the virus. There could still be additional players who have tested positive, but these four have given permission to the Red Sox for their names to be revealed to the public.

According to MLB’s COVID-19 testing protocols, “Players testing positive must quarantine for two weeks and then must be free of symptoms and test negative twice before rejoining their clubs.”

Red Sox’ Nathan Eovaldi to Pitch in Intrasquad Game on Thursday, Could Start on Opening Day Depending on Eduardo Rodriguez’s Status

Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi has impressed thus far at Summer Camp. The 30-year-old tossed a three-inning simulated game at Fenway Park on Saturday where he threw about 45 pitches.

In that sim game, Eovaldi faced Alex Verdugo, Jonathan Lucroy, Connor Wong, and Jett Bandy and utilized his pitch mix effectively, according to Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke.

“The stuff was great,” Roenicke said of Eovaldi on Saturday. “The cutter was good, the slider, the curveball. Threw some really good split-fingers and the velocity was there on his fastball. He got what he needed to do today.”

In terms of velocity, the flame-throwing Eovaldi topped out at about 100 MPH on the radar gun with his fastball. His next outing will likely come in a five-inning intrasquad game at Fenway on Thursday.

Taking that date into account, Eovaldi would be lined up to start for Boston on Openinf Day 2.0 on July 24th. That being said, Roenicke and the Red Sox still expect left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who has been at home in Florida awaiting the results of his COVID-19 test, to get the starting nod on that day.

As mentioned by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Roenicke has been noncommittal on who his Opening Day starter will be to this point. Rodriguez was expected to handle the duty prior to MLB suspending spring training back in March, but his status for the start of the 2020 season is now up in the air due to potential exposure to the coronavirus.

If Eovaldi’s impressive run continues on Thursday while Rodriguez is still absent from camp, Roenicke might not have any choice other than to name the Houston native his Opening Day starter. We’ll have to wait and see on that.