Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell all but confirmed Eduardo Rodriguez will start the season on the disabled list.
The Red Sox’s prized 22-year-old left-handed pitcher dislocated his kneecap on Feb. 27 and hasn’t pitched since. He’s ready to start throwing again, but there’s almost no scenario that involves him being ready for the Opening Day roster.
Farrell explained to reporters in Fort Myers, Fla., on Tuesday that Rodriguez needs at least three bullpen sessions before getting back on a mound, and roughly six starts to build up his strength and reach the 25-inning threshold the Red Sox like their starters to hit before the season starts. If everything goes as scheduled, that puts Rodriguez on pace to rejoin the team near the end of April.
“We have to do what?s right by him,” Farrell said, via The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham. “He?s a talented young guy and we can?t skip steps. But I?m not here to announce a roster move. We all see what?s taking place with the calendar.”
The Red Sox likely won’t make an official designation for another few weeks. In the meantime, knuckleballer Steven Wright and left-handers Henry Owens and Roenis Elias are the three main candidates to fill the position.
Let’s take a look at a few other notable Red Sox items:
— The Red Sox reassigned several players Tuesday.
Outfielder Bryce Brentz, infielder Sean Coyle, left-handed pitcher Edwin Escobar and right-handed pitcher Pat Light were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Left-handed pitcher Williams Jerez was optioned to Double-A Portland. Third baseman Chris Dominguez and catcher Ali Solis were reassigned to minor league camp.
We won’t go so far as to say Light’s assignment is surprising, but the 6-foot-5 fireballer (who touches 100 mph on the radar gun from time to time) certainly is a name to watch.
?He?s got a big arm,? Farrell said, via the Boston Herald. ?There?s no denying the velocity. Two keys for him for further progression is going to be consistent fastball location and can he throw that splitter for strikes? That?s the one pitch that allows him to get back into counts. It gives him a second pitch to get guys off his fastball. The refinement of those two are the difference from Pawtucket to Boston.?
Don’t be surprised to see Light in a Red Sox uniform before the end of 2016.
— Whether fans are taking Hanley Ramirez playing first base seriously or not is up for debate. But the former shortstop-turned-outfielder seemingly is committed to the new infield transition — even asking to play longer during meaningless spring training games in order to work on his fielding.
“His energy has been great,” Farrell told MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith. “There’s been multiple games where we’ve had him out of the game and he’s asked to go back for two or three innings more on defense. And that’s through his own request. So yeah, he’s been very good.”
Farrell also thought Ramirez’s defense at first right now is further along than his defense in left field was in April last season.
“I would say yes (his defense is further long),” Farrell replied. “That’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. But he looks comfortable over there. And yet there’s some plays we haven’t seen yet. But I think being back in the infield, he’s in the mix on every play. So I think that’s just a more natural feel for him in-game. And we’re seeing that play out.”
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images