- May 30, 2023: Tigers left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, whose emergence as a front-line starter has been a critical driver behind Detroit’s improvement over the past month, went on the 15-day injured list with an injury to his left index finger, putting the Tigers’ bounceback season and potentially this summer’s trade market in flux.
Rodriguez, who is 4-4 with a 2.13 ERA and a 0.975 WHIP through 11 starts, suffered the injury on one of his final pitches against the White Sox. An MRI exam and evaluations from multiple doctors revealed a ruptured A4 pulley, which helps hold the tendon to the bone around the tip of the finger. It’s an injury more common in rock climbers and bowlers than pitchers, but the injury can affect pitchers as they release the ball off their fingertips. The best-known case in baseball is Randy Dobnak, who suffered a series of pulley ruptures that shortened his 2021 season and sidelined him for much of '22.
One study last year said six Major League pitchers have had the injury; another put the typical timetable for return at six weeks.
Rodriguez will rest for seven to 10 days before being re-evaluated for a throwing program, according to the Tigers’ injury report.
“It’s always hard to lose one of your better players,” manager A.J. Hinch said after announcing the news. “But it’s one of five days. We continue to hope that it’s a quick return, but it is what it is.” (J Beck - MLB.com -May 30, 2023)
|Home:||N/A||Team:||TIGERS - 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.
Nov. 12, 2020: Eduardo didn’t pitch for the Red Sox in 2020 because of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), which he was diagnosed with after having COVID-19.
He appeared on MLB Network. He said he feels great and he is throwing again.
"My workouts are going to start next week, like lifting weights and all that,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve been doing bike, throwing it a little bit. So I’ll be 100% ready for next season.” (Christopher Smith)
Eduardo looked youthful as he pitched without facial hair for the first time in years. It turns out, however, that Rodriguez's clean shave had nothing to do with trying to change his luck as a pitcher and everything to do with pleasing his young daughter Annie.
“I just shaved because my daughter, she’s been on top of me all the time, because every time I hug her she just goes, ‘Daddy, I don’t want that. Shave it please.’ And I was home during the All-Star break and she kept doing it,” said Rodriguez. “And I went to my restroom and I see the razor there and I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it for her.’ I’ve had a beard for the last five or six years, so it feels good. I feel like I lost five years. Even my teammates say, ‘Bro you look younger.’” (Browne - mlb.com - 7/16/2021)
Rodriguez committed to play for Venezuela in the 2023 WBC.
March 24, 2023: The Tigers named Rodriguez as their 2023 season opening day starter against the Tampa Rays
Rodriguez has dazzled on the mound to the tune of a 1.57 ERA, including only one run allowed in his past 35 2/3 innings. We’ve also seen snippets of the soft-spoken Rodriguez engaging more with his teammates. There he was one morning on the road, cackling in the corner of the clubhouse in Spanish with reliever José Cisnero. There he was another day, deep in discussion with 25- year-old Joey Wentz about the intricacies of pitching. The two lefties talked about Rodriguez’s cutter. Rodriguez preached the importance of Wentz commanding his fastball to his glove side and building everything else off that.
“I talked to Eddy for a while after my start against the Mets,” Wentz said. “Just kind of what his process is, bullpen process, what he thinks I could focus on. Anytime getting to talk to Eduardo, he’s a veteran guy, he’s thrown in a lot of big games, he’s got a lot of experience. I’ll try to soak it up.”
“He’s probably got as good of command as anyone I’ve ever seen throw,” Wentz said. “Granted, I haven’t been in the league very long. But even when you watch games on TV, he stays on the spots and makes hitters make tough decisions. It’s a lot of weak contact and it’s been super impressive. It’s a pretty simple approach, but it’s obviously super hard to do.”
The amazing thing about this run of starts is the simplicity with which Rodriguez has dominated. Cutters in, changeups away, crisscrossing the plate with the utmost precision. His style of pitching exudes calm and control, stoic as a scarecrow, something some of his teammates can only marvel at.
“I’ve always thought about Eddy, when you watch, he doesn’t really look fazed about anything,” Wentz said. “He’s very internal. When he’s frustrated, he doesn’t really let out too much of that. Windup, the stretch, super consistent, he works at his pace. As dumb as it sounds, he does a lot of the simple stuff, really, really well.” (Stavenhagen - May 17, 2023 - The Athletic)
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 for $2.4 million.
Jan 11, 2019: Eduardo and the Red Sox avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal for $4.3 million.
December 1, 2020: Rodriguez and the Red Sox agreed on a one-year, $8.3 million contract.
Dec. 1, 2020: The Red Sox agreed to a one-year, $8.3 million deal for the 2021 season with Eduardo Rodriguez. He will earn the same salary in 2021 as he did in 2020. (Rodriguez would have been in his fourth and final year of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent next offseason.)
Nov 3, 2021: Eduardo chose free agency.
- Nov. 16, 2021: The Tigers signed Rodriguez to a five-year contract for $77 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, and 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), 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.
2020 Season Pitch Usage: Did not pitch.
2021 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 40.3% of the time, his Sinker 11.4%; Change 22.5%; Slider 8.3%; and Cutter 17.5% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 92.8 mph, Sinker 92.7, Changeup 85.6, Slider 82.2, and Cutter 88.6 mph.
2022 Season Pitch Usage/Avg. Velo: Fastball 38.3% - 92 mph; Cutter 22.7% - 89 mph; Sinker 18% - 92 mph; Change 16.4% - 86 mph; Slider 4.6% - 82.7 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 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.
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)
In his breakout 2019 season, Rodriguez went 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA and 213 strikeouts in 203 innings, finishing sixth in AL Cy Young voting.
2020 Season: Instead of returning from the pandemic shutdown in July with the rest of baseball, Rodriguez was stuck in bed, sick with the coronavirus. When he recovered from that illness, doctors diagnosed him with myocarditis — a complication of COVID-19 that affects the heart and wound up costing him the entire 2020 season.
2021 Season: The lefty had a shaky 2021, going 13-8 with a 4.74 ERA after missing the 2020 season due to myocarditis.
As of the start of the 2022 season, Eduardo had a career record of 64-39 with a 4.16 ERA, having allowed 107 home runs and 831 hits in 856 innings with 892 strikeouts.
2022 Season: E-rod signed a five-year, $77 million deal with the Tigers last offseason. It looked like a solid mid-tier signing at the time. His first year in a Tigers uniform was...interesting to say the least.
He got off to an okay start. In his first eight starts, he had a 4.38 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 17 walks in 39 IP. Then he left his start against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 18 with a ribcage sprain. That's when things started to go off the rails.
After he made a rehab start in which he looked like he was ready to come off the IL, Rodriguez was placed on the restricted list on June 13 due to personal issues. We won't speculate on what happened here.
He missed the next two months on top of the three weeks he had already missed with the injury. He finally came off the IL on Aug. 19 and made nine starts down the stretch. Overall, E-rod ended up with a 4.05 ERA in 91 IP (17 starts). (Matthew Scheidel - Dec. 10, 2022)
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: 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-Oct 31, 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 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.
Nov 12, 2020: By the time the Red Sox open the 2021 season, Rodriguez plans on being a full go. This comes after a difficult summer in which Rodriguez first suffered through COVID-19 and was then diagnosed with an inflammatory heart condition called myocarditis.
March 29-April 8, 2021: Eduardo went on the IL with left elbow inflammation.
May 21, 2022: Detroit Tigers’ starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day injured list with a left ribcage sprain.
- May 29, 2023: Rodriguez injured his left index finger while pitching in the sixth inning of a win against the Chicago White Sox. The Tigers placed him on the 15-day injured list, with a pulley rupture.
May 30, 2023: Rodriguez suffered the injury on one of his final pitches against the White Sox. An MRI exam and evaluations from multiple doctors revealed a ruptured A4 pulley, which helps hold the tendon to the bone around the tip of the finger.
One study last year said six Major League pitchers have had the injury; another put the typical timetable for return at six weeks.