The Red Sox have scratched lefty Eduardo Rodriguez from his Opening Day start due to a “dead arm,” manager Alex Cora announced to reporters this morning (Twitter links via MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo). Fellow veteran Nathan Eovaldi will instead take the mound for the season opener. At this point, the Sox are calling the move precautionary and aren’t even certain that Rodriguez will be placed on the injured list. He’ll throw a bullpen in the coming days, and the team will evaluate him once they see how his arm responds. It’s possible Rodriguez will simply just have his first start of the season pushed back, but there won’t be any clarity on the matter for a few days.
The 27-year-old Rodriguez did not pitch in 2020 after being diagnosed with Covid-19 and then developing a subsequent case of myocarditis — an enlargement of the heart — in the aftermath. Rodriguez not only appeared to be healthy for most of Spring Training but looked quite impressive, tossing 13 2/3 innings and holding opponents to four earned runs on 11 hits and two walks with 15 strikeouts. He’s slated to become a free agent after the 2021 season.
A couple more notes on the Red Sox…
- There have been no talks of an extension with Rafael Devers this spring, as the third baseman himself revealed this week (via Cotillo). Devers added that he’s very much open to discussing a deal, however. The 24-year-old is still controlled through the 2023 season, so there’s no immediate rush for the Red Sox to get him locked into a long-term deal. That said, he’s also reached the point of his career where he’s begun to build the financial safety net that removes some of a player’s incentive to take an early deal. Devers reached arbitration eligibility this winter and agreed to a one-year, $4.575MM contract for the 2021 season. So long as he remains healthy and approaches the .298/.348/.536 output he produced in 2019-20, he should be in for a sizable raise on that sum next winter as well.
- The Red Sox have informed Rule 5 Draft pick Garrett Whitlock that he has made the Opening Day roster, Cora also revealed in talking with reporters this morning (Twitter link via the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham). That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given the outstanding spring that the right-hander has put together. Whitlock, an 18th-round pick of the rival Yankees in 2017, has pitched in four games with the Sox and tallied nine innings, allowing one run on eight hits and no walks with a dozen strikeouts. The 24-year-old is likely ticketed for the Boston bullpen to begin the season, but he’s worked almost exclusively as a starter in the Yankees’ system, so it’s possible he’ll eventually work out of the rotation in Boston — if he sticks on the roster for the long haul.