4. How long will Eduardo Rodriguez be out/Who will fill in for him?
The young lefthander, who likes to be called E-Rod, injured his right knee on February 27th. The diagnosis was partial subluxation, which is synonymous with dislocation. It is now a month later and Rodriguez still has not appeared in a game. Any hope of his starting the season with the team was dashed about 10 days ago when it was announced he would be starting the season on the disabled list.
All indications are that Rodriguez could be back in the rotation by late April. He would need at least three starts, possibly a fourth to get up the 20 to 25 innings the team wants him to have before starting the season. Assuming no physical complications, late April is a realistic goal, but a second injury during his rehab is a possibility, so that late April return is not set in stone .
The competition for E-Rod’s starting spot seemed to come down to Henry Owens (struggles with command), Roenis Elias (49 career starts coming into this season) and Steven Wright (knuckleballer). Owens was out of the running ten days ago with his inability to throw strikes and Elias’ allowed six runs on seven hits in just two-thirds of an inning last Saturday to the Orioles seem to doom him to the bullpen. Wright has been the man of late, stepping up with 5.2 innings of one run baseball on Sunday to seemingly lock down that fifth starter slot. Wright has earned a 2.66 ERA over 20.1 Spring innings. You aren’t looking for spectacular in your number five starter, just consistently keeping your team in the game. This is something that Wright should be able to provide when he likely makes his first start of the season on April 11 when the turn falls to him for the first time in 2016. Though Farrell is still officially non-committal (Elias has a start for a minor league game scheduled for Thursday), Wright seems to have this locked down. How long can Wright do the job?