Sunday was much more like it for Eduardo Rodriguez.
The Boston Red Sox left-hander had struggled in his first two rehab starts as he attempts to come back from a dislocated right kneecap, but the third time was the charm.
Rodriguez allowed one earned run on six hits while striking out seven in 6 1/3 innings for Triple-A Pawtucket at McCoy Stadium. And he understandably was happy with his performance when he spoke with the media afterward.
This strong outing comes after back-to-back lousy starts. Rodriguez only lasted three innings and allowed six runs (five earned) on nine hits with three strikeouts during a June 29 start for Double-A Portland. He followed that up with a four-inning performance in which he allowed four earned runs on four hits with five walks for the PawSox on July 4.
The latest plan for Rodriguez was for him to make Sunday’s start in Pawtucket, and if all went well to make a return to the majors after the All-Star break. And that is welcomed news for the Red Sox, especially considering how well he was pitching before the injury.
“That’s the key,” manager John Farrell said Thursday, via The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham. “We lost a guy at the time who was throwing the ball extremely well. He was powerful; he was gaining confidence; he was working deeper into games. So hopefully he can regain that form he was pitching with prior to the injury. He would be a huge boost to this rotation.”
And Rodriguez says he’s up for the challenge.
“After this game I feel like I’m ready to go,” Rodriguez said Sunday, via the Providence Journal’s Bill Koch. “With all my pitches, my knee, my body, I feel like I’m ready to go.”
Let’s take a look at a few more notes from the Red Sox’s 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
— Rodriguez isn’t the only Red Sox pitcher trying to make a comeback. Reliever Carson Smith, who’s been out since last season after Tommy John surgery, could return to the mound over the All-Star break.
— Mookie Betts’ leadoff home run had some history attached to it. He blasted his 16th home run of the season to lead off the Red Sox’s loss at Tropicana Field, and it also was his 11th career leadoff home run, which is a new franchise record.
Thumbnail photo via Patrick McDermott/USA TODAY Sports Images