It had been about a year since Eduardo Rodriguez last took the mound, but that all changed Friday afternoon.
The Red Sox left-hander made his spring training debut against the Tampa Bay Rays for the first time in 2021 after missing all of 2020 with myocarditis as a result of contracting COVID-19.
Rodriguez did face batters in February, but this was the first game action he’d seen in quite a while.
After Boston’s eventual 6-5 walkoff win, the southpaw admitted to having chills before his start.
“It felt a little bit different,” he told reporters. “When I went out to the bullpen and was warming up, I told (Christian Vazquez), ‘Bro, I feel chills. I feel all that right now, like I’m making my MLB debut right now.’ And he told me, ‘No, don’t worry, that’s part of it.’ I feel that every start, but today it was a little more exciting.”
Rodriguez allowed a run on two hits and two strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings of work.
“At the beginning, I wasn’t thinking of the result of the game,” he said. “I was just enjoying that I had the opportunity to be back out there. That’s what I was thinking of in the first inning when I went out there. When I threw the first couple of pitches, I was thinking of that. Then, as the game went on, I was just throwing the pitches like normal.”
Rodriguez’s start certainly was encouraging, and should give fans some optimism heading into the 2021 season.