A week ago, the Boston Red Sox announced Eduardo Rodriguez as the team's Opening Day starter, but for the second straight season, the left-handed starter will be scratched from the season's first game, this time after dealing with a dead arm.
Rodriguez missed Opening Day last year after being diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart linked to the coronavirus.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Rodriguez communicated in recent days that his arm wasn't feeling up to full strength. In his fourth start of spring training, the lefty struggled against the Rays, pitching two innings and dealing with command issues while allowing 2 runs, 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out one.
"The last one wasn't a great one as far as his stuff and his body. We've been very straightforward with him. His body is going to dictate what we're going to do with him, so his schedule got pushed back, he didn't throw a bullpen," Cora said. "He was supposed to throw a bullpen two days ago. He played catch yesterday and he felt fine. With the schedule the way that it is, he won't be able to post on Thursday, so we'll see how it plays out when he gets back to the mound."
Cora clarified that the 27-year-old could avoid a stint on the injured list and that the missing start is unrelated to the myocarditis that led to Rodriguez missing the 2020 season.
"He didn't feel as strong as the previous outings arm-wise. Shoulder, arm, there's nothing specific there, but it's one of those; he's pushing, he was pushing hard for Thursday, but the smart thing from our end is to play smart, take the decision out of the player and we make the decision for him," Cora said. "As far as the schedule, it doesn't add up. He played catch yesterday; he hasn't thrown a bullpen; and you start adding days and you run out of days."
Later Friday, Cora said Rodriguez would have a bullpen session on Saturday.
Rodriguez was Boston's best starter in 2019, finishing sixth in the American League Cy Young voting and posting a 19-6 record with a 3.81 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 34 starts.