Red Sox’s Eduardo Rodriguez ‘100% ready for next season’ following difficult COVID bout

Jesse Pantuosco
November 12, 2020 - 4:58 pm

After a career-best season that saw him finish among the American League’s top ten in both victories (19) and strikeouts (213), Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez had hoped to build off his 2019 success with an even more emphatic 2020. Unfortunately, that plan never came to fruition.

Over the summer, E-Rod experienced myocarditis, a serious heart condition stemming from an earlier COVID bout. The 27-year-old was ultimately lost for the season, never seeing the mound in 2020 as the last-place Red Sox stumbled to an anemic 24-36 record, fourth-worst in the majors ahead of only Pittsburgh, Detroit and Texas.

Speaking Thursday on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM, the 6’2” left-hander acknowledged the ordeal was “kind of scary,” though luckily Rodriguez has since recovered and expects to be a full go for the start of next season, his final year under contract. “My wife had it too. We had all the symptoms and that was kind of hard for us,” said E-Rod, who joined the Red Sox at the 2014 trade deadline in a swap that sent prized reliever Andrew Miller to Baltimore. “I went to Boston for the start of the season over there, and then I got an MRI and they discovered that I had myocarditis. When they told me that, it was kind of hard for me, especially when they told me I wouldn’t have a chance to be available to play the season.”

With David Price gone (he and Mookie Betts were dealt to Los Angeles during the offseason) and Chris Sale facing a lengthy recovery from Tommy John surgery, Rodriguez was positioned to be the Red Sox’s staff ace … until myocarditis turned his world upside down.

"I asked [my doctors], ‘Is this something that I’m going to have the rest of my life? Is it going to ruin my career?’ But they just told me I had to take some time off and let it heal.” Beyond the uncertainty surrounding his health, being in isolation also weighed on Rodriguez, who admitted it was strange watching his teammates take the field without him. “It was really hard for me just sitting at home and watching them play every day,” said Rodriguez, who finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting in 2019. “I would say that was the hard part for me.”

A Venezuela native, Rodriguez has compiled a lifetime 4.03 ERA over 127 big-league appearances (122 starts), all of them in a Red Sox uniform.

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