Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez has been shut down for the 2020 season as a result of the myocarditis he has experienced following a bout with COVID-19, according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. While the Red Sox are confident that Rodriguez will make a full recovery in the long term, his heart issues have persisted and will prevent him from pitching this season.
Since going on the injured list in early July due to COVID-19, Rodriguez has dealt with mild heart inflammation that developed as a result of the illness. Thankfully, the condition hasn’t negatively affected the function of Rodriguez’s heart, though it has not subsided to the point where he’s expected to recover in time to pitch this year.
Needless to say, the outlook for the Red Sox rotation sans Rodriguez is a rather bleak one. Even with the 27-year-old southpaw in the mix, the rotation looked like a thin unit, but it was certainly a bit more inspiring than the patchwork unit Ron Roenicke will henceforth have to count on. With Chris Sale on the shelf for the year, Rodriguez was expected to shoulder a bigger load atop the Red Sox rotation, which currently consists of Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, Ryan Weber, and Zack Godley.
Rodriguez emerged as one of the hottest pitchers in baseball late last year, authoring a career-best season on virtually every measurable front. He posted his best marks yet in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, and ERA. And if that wasn’t enough reason to be excited for another year of progress, he was at his best in the final month of the season, averaging 12.7 K/9 over his last six starts—his highest rate in a single month of his five-year career (minimum three starts).
Of course, the focus right now shouldn’t be on the on-field consequences of Rodriguez’s absence, but on his long-term health and recovery. We hope to see E-Rod make a swift return to full health and back on the mound in 2021. For now, his situation is a reminder that even young, world-class athletes are not immune to complications from COVID-19.