Before opening up a three-game series against the Orioles on Thursday, the Red Sox reinstated left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez from the 10-day injured list.
Rodriguez, who turned 28 on Wednesday, will make his 2021 debut in the first of three against Baltimore after starting the season on the injured list due to left elbow inflammation.
The Venezuelan southpaw originally had been slated to start for Boston on Opening Day, but was scratched from that start on account of dealing with “dead arm” during the late stages of spring training.
That bout with “dead arm” resulted in the Sox placing Rodriguez on the IL last week, but as expected, it was a short stint on the shelf for the lefty.
“He’s good to go,” Red Sox manager Cora said on Wednesday. “Looking forward to him to pitch tomorrow. He really wanted to pitch today because it’s his birthday. Good for him, but no. We’re very happy. He’ll be okay tomorrow. He’ll be ready to go.”
When Rodriguez takes the field at Camden Yards on Thursday afternoon, it will have been approximately 557 days since he last toed a big-league rubber. He missed the entirety of the shortened 2020 campaign after being diagnosed with myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) following a bout with COVID-19 last summer.
“It will mean a lot because of everything I went through last year,” Rodriguez told reporters Wednesday. “I just was happy to have the opportunity to be back in baseball and be back to start tomorrow.”
Rodriguez, who owns a lifetime 2.60 ERA in nine career starts at Camden Yards, will not be capped by a pitch or inning limit on Thursday, though the expectation is that Cora and Co. will take a conservative approach with him given the circumstances.
Regardless of that, it goes without saying that Rodriguez’s highly-anticipated season debut has been a long time coming. He will look to lead the Sox to their fourth consecutive victory on Thursday.
The reason the Red Sox were able to activate Rodriguez on Thursday without making a corresponding roster move is because the club optioned right-hander Tanner Houck to the alternate training site in Worcester on Tuesday night.
(Picture of Eduardo Rodriguez: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)