- July 28, 2020: Red Sox ace lefty Eduardo Rodriguez confirmed Sunday morning that a heart condition called Myocarditis is the reason he was shut down from all baseball activities the day before Opening Day. CLASS="highlight"> Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart typically caused by a viral infection. CLASS="highlight"> Though there is no way to know for sure, Rodriguez said doctors told him he likely contracted the condition due to having COVID-19 a few weeks ago. CLASS="highlight">
“I mean, I would say so. CLASS="highlight"> Because they told me that something like 10 or 20 percent of the people [who get COVID-19], get that, so that’s what they tell me,” said Rodriguez. CLASS="highlight">
This wasn’t a symptom-based thing, but rather something that was detected in a routine MRI Rodriguez had last week. CLASS="highlight"> Rodriguez was told to halt all baseball activities for a week, meaning he could be cleared to resume throwing as early as Thursday. CLASS="highlight">
“The doctor told me just take a week, just rest, don't get [too high a] heart rate,” Rodriguez said. CLASS="highlight"> “Just rest for a week and we wait to see the next MRI, what it says. CLASS="highlight"> If it goes out, if it goes away, just go back to work. CLASS="highlight">”
Rodriguez is sure hoping that is the case, because what he is doing now is boring. CLASS="highlight">
“Just sitting, that’s all I’ve got to do, is just sit and eat and walk and all that,” said Rodriguez. CLASS="highlight"> “Just taking it easy, and chilling for a week. CLASS="highlight">”
One thing Rodriguez can do is watch his teammates play baseball on television, which only increases his itch to come back and help them. CLASS="highlight"> He had no thoughts of electing not to play this season, even in light of the recent diagnosis. CLASS="highlight">
“No, no, no, no. CLASS="highlight"> I want to be pitching yesterday, the day before, or today,” Rodriguez said. CLASS="highlight"> “I want to be out there every time I can, so I'm never thinking of getting out of the season. CLASS="highlight"> I feel bad every time I see a game happening and I'm not even in the dugout. CLASS="highlight">”
That said, Rodriguez realizes his health comes first. CLASS="highlight">
“That's the most important part of your body,” said Rodriguez. CLASS="highlight"> “The first time I heard heart, I was kind of scared a little. CLASS="highlight"> Now that I know what it is, I'm still scared, but now I know exactly what it is. CLASS="highlight"> I just talk to my mom, talk to my wife, let them know what I have, and now I've got to take the rest. CLASS="highlight">”
Once Rodriguez gets the all clear, how soon thereafter could he pitch for the Red Sox?
“As soon as I throw the first ball, I'll let you know,” Rodriguez said. CLASS="highlight"> “I need to know how my shoulder feels. CLASS="highlight"> As soon as I throw the first ball in the first bullpen, I'll let you know. ... It depends how I feel the first time I throw the ball.” (I Browne - MLB.com - July 26, 2020)
|Home:||N/A||Team:||RED SOX - IL|
|Birth City:||Valencia, Venezuela|
|Draft:||2010 - Orioles - Free agent|
In 2010, the Orioles signed Rodriguez (see Transactions below).
In 2012, Baseball America rated Eduardo as the 30th-best prospect in the Orioles' organization. They moved him all the way up to #5 in the winter before 2013 spring training. And he was rated the third-best prospect in the Orioles farm system in the offseason before 2014 spring camps opened.
Upon moving to the Red Sox organization, he was ranked 4th-best in 2015.
Rodriguez has benefited from committing to a consistent between-starts routine.
Scouts admire Rodriguez's loose arm and easy mechanics, traits made all the more impressive by the fact that he was naturally righthanded as a child. Rodriguez said he broke his right arm at age 7 and, instead of letting it heal, he simply started throwing with his left hand. "I don't know, it's good for me," he said with a smile.
In July 2013, Eduardo was named to the World Team for the All-Star Futures Game. He pitched one inning, striking out one and allowing one hit.
In 2014 spring training, when veteran lefty Johan Santana arrived in the Orioles' clubhouse, Rodriguez rushed over to Santana to introduce himself. They posed for a photo, which Eddie posted on his Instagram account.
“When I was young, my father every time would tell me about him,” Rodriguez said. “He’d say, ‘Hey, he’s the best player in baseball. He’s the best player from Venezuela.’ He was my favorite player for all my life . . .
When Rodriguez told Santana about his upbringing, the veteran told the rookie, “Oh, I’m excited about that. Thank you.”
“(Rodriguez has) just got to take everything easy,” Santana said. “You can’t rush things up. He reminds me of myself when I was younger, but I think he’s got great stuff. It’s just a matter of time for him to get comfortable and also to understand." (Roch Kubatko-Baseball America-4/11/14)
In 2017, Rodriguez had intended to pitch for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic but had to decline because of a minor knee injury suffered during winter ball.
April 17-19, 2017: Rodriguez, who welcomed a baby boy into the world on Easter Sunday, was on the paternity list.
May 2-May 5, 2018: Rodriguez was placed on the family medical leave list.
Red Sox biggest trash talker: Rafael Devers didn’t even blink when asked who talks the most trash now that Dustin Pedroia has been sidelined most of the last few seasons.
“Eddie,” Devers said as he laughed. How does E-Rod’s trash talking manifest itself? “It’s just that Eddie says a lot of things, and just out of nowhere, too,” said Devers. ”We just can’t help but laugh. So it’s definitely Eddie.”
Rodriguez is frequently challenging his teammates to Ping-Pong, cards, dominoes, or whatever games are available. Does he ever beat Devers in anything?
“No, no, no,” Devers said. (MLB.com - Apr. 29, 2020)
January 2010: The Orioles signed Rodriguez for $175,000 as a free agent. Scout Calvin Maduro did the signing.
July 31, 2014: The Red Sox sent LHP Andrew Miller to the Orioles, acquiring Rodriguez.
Jan 12, 2018: Eduardo and the Red Sox avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal worth $2.4 million.
- Jan 11, 2019: Eduardo and the Red Sox avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal for $4.3 million.
Rodriguez is a lean lefthander who throws strikes with his lively sinking and tailing 91-94 mph two-seam SINKER that keeps hitters off-balance. He also has a 92-97 mph four-seam FASTBALL. His 84-87 mph tight, biting 84-87 mph SLIDER with excellent tilt is a 50, that flashes 60 grade, and works when he throws it to the back foot of righthanded hitter. He can bury his nasty, swing-and-miss 85-88 mph CHANGEUP (a clear 60 on the 20-80 scout scale), which he throws with the same arm speed as his heater.
When Eduardo is at his best, he works down in the zone with his fastball. It has arm-side run away from the barrel of a righthanded hitters bat. And the changeup dives away to his arm side. He attacks lefties with that change and it's effective.
Rodriguez will throw the changeup in any count with similar arm speed to his fastball. He induces ground balls and swings and misses with both velocity and pitch location. In short, he knows how to pitch. And he'll get better with more experience against quality hitters.
2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 57.3% of the time; Sinker 9% of the time; Change 16.3%; Slider 14.7%; and Cutter 2.8% of the time.
2017 Season Pitch Usage: Fastball 61.4% of the time; 2-seam SINKER just under 4% of the time; Changeup 18% of the time: and Slider 16.8% of the time.
2018 Season Pitch Usage: Fastball 41.9% of the time; 2-seam SINKER just under 10.5% of the time; Changeup 21.2% of the time; Slider 11.1%; and Cutter 15.3% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 93.8 mph, Sinker 93.6, Changeup 88, Slider 85.5, and Cutter 89.5 mph.
2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 40.3% of the time, his Sinker 14.3%; Change 23.6%; Slider 4.5%; and Cutter 17.3% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 93.3 mph, Sinker 93.1, Changeup 87.9, Slider 82.8, and Cutter 88.7 mph.
The ball comes out of his hand well. When he was on the Orioles, they helped Rodriguez overhaul his delivery and get more on line toward the plate without robbing him of deception.
Eduardo can become inconsistent with his arm slot and sometimes leaves his heater up in the zone. Those are just minor dings, however, and scouts project him as a mid-rotation starter at least, if not a No. 2 as he makes improvements.
He now has an uncomplicated delivery and smooth mechanics. He has a very loose and free release, with the ball leaving his hand with ease. But he has a tendency to get quick with his delivery and lose the strike zone.
In 2013, Rodriguez's improvement could be traced to his situational pitching that season, according to Bowie BaySox manager Ryan Minor.
"[Young pitchers] don't understand how valuable it is to prepare yourself in between, not only physically but mentally, to understand the teams you're facing and to read hitters swings and things like that," Ryan Minor said. "For Eddie, I've seen a big difference from last year to this year (2013) between his starts."
Eduardo credited Portland pitching coach Bob Kipper with helping him to use his changeup and slider to both sides of the plate against both righties and lefties for his breakthrough season in 2014.
Eduardo shows amazing poise and self-confidence on the mound. He has the type of mound demeanor that can carry him through the best of times and some difficult hiccups, should they arise. He doesn't get rattled.
Rodriguez doesn't pitch inside much at all. On the contrary, he mostly stays on the outside corner on all hitter. (October 2013)
Eventually, Eduardo will find the inside of the plate and throw the ball under the hands of the lefty hitters. That will make a difference. (Spring 2014)
- Rodriguez relies upon a moving fastball as the bread and butter of his arsenal. It's a pitch that is difficult to catch up with and one with which he has great success. Rodriguez uses it to set up an improving changeup and a steady slider. Both of those off-speed pitches are true weapons, and they tend to sit at 8-10 mph less than his fastball without much differential.
Rodriguez's changeup against lefthanded hitters is a difference maker in his overall game plan. Once he has the hitter sitting on the blazing speed, the 10 mph difference and the change in the location baffles hitters.
His command and control are well advanced beyond his age. Rodriguez knows how he wants to sequence each hitter, and he comes right after it with good follow through and extension. He makes pitching look easy.
Rodriguez scuffled a bit with his command and control prior to being traded to the Red Sox. However, his delivery is smoother, his landing point is direct and he repeats his good mechanics pitch after pitch. That has all come with improved confidence. Where Rodriguez once may have been seen as a thrower, he is now more a true pitcher. (Pleskoff - mlb.com - 7/20/15)
As of July 20, 2015: In his 535 innings of Minor League pitching, Rodriguez had yielded only 22 home runs. The highest total he surrendered in one year was 9, in 2013. In other words, Rodriguez is the consummate groundball pitcher.
2015 Season: Rodriguez's success left everyone in the organization beaming about his future. E-Rod not only has the stuff to pitch in the Major Leagues, but also the poise. The lefty finished with a 10-6 record and a 3.85 ERA in 21 starts. His last seven starts represented his best run of the season, as he went 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA.
In 2017, Eduardo moved to the first base side of the rubber to start the season.
Rodriguez also changed his arm angle for a number of reasons: He was tipping his pitches, not taking the ball out of his glove the same way—instead, tipping off his fastball because he took it out of his glove differently that his curve.
Eduardo has learned a lot from both David Price and Chris Sale, fellow lefthanders on the Red Sox staff.
Feb 19, 2019: Eduardo threw a pitch in the bullpen that was so on point, it prompted ace Chris Sale to laugh. The legendary Pedro Martinez knows ace-speak, so he knew exactly what Sale meant by the laugh.
"That's ridiculous. Just ridiculous," Martinez said, when asked what Sale thought of that particular pitch. While Martinez stood next to Rodriguez during the side session, Sale stood behind him for a close-up look. Two of the best pitchers the Red Sox have ever had are clearly invested in Rodriguez, and they hold the belief he will be something special.
A few minutes later, Rodriguez took his filthy arsenal out to Field 5 for batting practice, and Sale gleefully tagged along. "Eddie, you throwing live today?" Sale asked. "I'm riding shotgun."
Less than two months from his 26th birthday and entering his fifth season, 2019 sure looks like leap year for Rodriguez.And nobody believes Rodriguez is ready to take that leap more than Martinez, who as a special instructor for the Red Sox has essentially been joined at the hip with his protege for the last several Spring Trainings.
When batting practice session ended, Martinez clapped into his glove and shouted. "That was one of the most impressive BPs that you could see," said Martinez. "No hesitation, no stopping. It was beautiful to watch." Overall, what makes Martinez so excited about where Rodriguez is at this spring?
"I see for the first time he is demanding more out of every pitch," Martinez said. "He's asking for more and more. He's making good quality pitches, but he wants to improve them." It helps that Rodriguez is also, by the accounts of many and obvious to anyone who observes him, in the best physical shape he's ever been in. Last season, Rodriguez went 13-5 with a 3.82 ERA.
"Eddie, I think, physically is more mature now," Martinez said. "He understands his body better. He's understanding where he needs to improve. He's not really worried about his position physically, because this is his first time in Spring Training the last few years that he comes over and there's no worries. He can just pitch."
The possibilities seem endless, which is why Rodriguez draws such big crowds when he throws batting practice on a practice field. "The work he put in the offseason is paying off. He's repeating his delivery," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "You ask any of those guys, everybody was watching. He's kind of like the favorite pitcher of the whole camp. When he throws live BPs, everybody is out there watching."
"It's just a matter of him putting a whole season [together], and we do feel it's going to happen this year. Looking forward, he'll be great for us. He's going to be good." Rodriguez is in a rotation surrounded by accomplished veterans, and while he appreciates his role as the little brother, he's ready to be on an even playing field.
"That's the way they look at me and I love it. That way they just teach me all the time. You've got Cy Youngs from these guys here. I love the way they treat me. Like a little brother," Rodriguez said. "But I want to get to that point. I want to get to the point where I can be available to win a Cy Young one day. But like I said, I just want to be healthy and help the team to win games." (I Browne - MLB.com - Feb 19, 2019)
2019 Improvements: After a stellar outing from Rodriguez and a relatively dominating performance from the Red Sox overall in game three against the Tigers, the starting lefty let us all in on a little secret. That breaking ball that he was throwing so effectively last night? He didn’t learn that from pitching coach Dana LeVangie. He wasn’t given this grip by one of the greats, Pedro Martinez. Instead, it was Dustin Pedroia who taught him how to throw his newest breaking pitch.
After being asked last night, Rodriguez had this to say about it, via Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.
“It’s funny because four days ago, I was talking with Pedey in the dugout and he told me, 'Hey, do you want to throw a really good breaking ball?' I was like, 'Yeah, bro, I’ve been battling to throw a breaking ball since I got in the big leagues.'"
Rodriguez then explained that Dustin Pedroia showed him the grip he had used to use during his days as a pitcher while in school. (Nick Quaglia - April 25, 2019)
- As of the start of the 2020 season, Eduardo had a career record of 51-31 with a 4.03 ERA, having allowed 88 home runs and 659 hits in 699 innings.
April 18-May 22, 2014: Rodriguez was on the D.L. for five weeks with a knee injury.
February 2016: Rodriguez suffered a patella subluxation of his right knee.
April 3-May 31, 2016: Eduardo began the season on the D.L. with a dislocated right kneecap.
June 2-July 17, 2017: Rodriguez was on the DL with a right knee subluxation.
October 2017: Rodriguez was planning to open 2018 on the DL after undergoing a right knee patellofemoral ligament reconstruction. Rodriguez should be ready to pitch again in six months, but he will need a ramp-up period to rebuild his endurance.
March 26–April 8, 2018: Eduardo was on the DL with recovery from right knee patellofemoral ligament reconstruction surgery.“The doctor told me just take a week, just rest, don't get [too high a] heart rate,” Rodriguez said. “Just rest for a week and we wait to see the next MRI, what it says. If it goes out, if it goes away, just go back to work.”
July 14-Sept 1, 2018: Rodriguez went on the DL with a sprained ankle.
July 14, 2020: Eduardo was on the IL.
July 26, 2020: Red Sox ace lefty Eduardo Rodriguez confirmed that a heart condition called Myocarditis is the reason he was shut down from all baseball activities the day before Opening Day. Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart typically caused by a viral infection. Though there is no way to know for sure, Rodriguez said doctors told him he likely contracted the condition due to having COVID-19 a few weeks ago.
July 28, 2020: “The doctor told me just take a week, just rest, don't get [too high a] heart rate,” Rodriguez said. “Just rest for a week and we wait to see the next MRI, what it says. If it goes out, if it goes away, just go back to work.”
Aug 1, 2020: In a tough blow for both the Red Sox and their ace lefty, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom informed reporters that Eduardo Rodriguez has been shut down for the 2020 baseball season.
Rodriguez was diagnosed with myocarditis (inflammation in the heart), a condition that may be related to his contraction of COVID-19 earlier this summer. The southpaw did not experience chest pain or any symptoms, but both he and the Red Sox are taking an abundance of caution given the nature of the diagnosis.
The good news is that the club is confident Rodriguez will make a full recovery.