Boston Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez is still having trouble with his knee injury, causing his rehab progression to slow considerably.
Christopher Smith of MassLive.com reported that “Eduardo Rodriguez, eight days removed from suffering a subluxation of the patellar tendon of his right knee, still has fluid in the knee and has has yet to pitch off a mound.” Red Sox manager John Farrell said, “there’s still some swelling in the knee that we’re working on to get out of there. That’s the last step here before we get him on the mound and that’s to remove all that fluid.”
Rodriguez burst onto the scene last season, when the Red Sox were losing pitchers to injuries or poor play like it was going out of style. He didn’t disappoint; Rodriguez threw 7.2 innings and held the playoff-bound Texas Rangers off of the scoreboard. They earned only three hits and two walks against him. Seven Rangers struck out in Rodriguez’s amazing debut start.
Rodriguez was still only 22 at the time, but the Venezuelan earned a 10-6 record and a 3.85 ERA in 21 starts. In 121.2 innings, he struck out 98 batters. Out of the other starters in the normal rotation, Rodriguez had the lowest opposing batting average of .255, with Clay Buchholz a close second with .260. Wade Miley (.265), Joe Kelly (.276), and Rick Porcello (.285) rounded out the rotation with at least 18 or more starts in 2015.
This season, however, should be a different story, one in which Rodriguez should become a definite factor. David Price, the highly-priced free agent, was brought in to be a true ace of the starting rotation. According to MLB.com‘s depth chart for the Red Sox, Price should be followed by Buchholz, Porcello, Rodriguez, and Kelly, as Miley was traded in the winter.
Even if Buchholz is inconsistent at the start of the regular season, due to any poor play or reoccurring issues with his injury from last season, he will not be expected to shoulder the burden of being the leader of the rotation anymore. Yet, Price can’t be expected to do it alone, either.
Porcello recently had a good outing, but two innings doesn’t prove that the nightmare of his 9-15 record from last season is quite over. Kelly may have ended his year with an 8-0 hot-streak, but he finished with a 10-6 record after having major issues with discovering where he put his A-game. It took a trip to Triple-A to finally find it, something that Red Sox Nation hopes that he doesn’t need to do again. Buchholz, before his injury, was a ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ act; you never knew which man took the mound that night, which was the reason for the 7-7 record. His first appearance last season was seven innings of shutout baseball. His next night was a 9-run shellacking in only 3.1 innings.
Price should do what he’s being paid to do; however, until the veterans can prove that their issues have been resolved, it would be nice if Rodriguez’s knee decided to work with the rest of his body to allow him to work on a sophomore season of excellence. If Rodriguez can get healthy and prove that his talents were not a ‘one-hit wonder’, then the band behind him can hopefully provide hit after hit to help the young man earn some more victories.