For Eduardo Rodriguez, 2019 is shaping up to a be a very important campaign.
Heading into his fifth Major League season with the Boston Red Sox, the 25-year-old reported to spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., with a clean bill of health after battling knee issues in previous years. According to Red Sox manager Alex Cora, the lefty showed up for voluntary workouts last week in the best shape of his life.
And with full-team workouts underway, Rodriguez has continued to turn heads with his progress. His live batting practice session Tuesday morning drew a crowd of Red Sox on hand to watch
One person in particular that was impressed with Rodriguez’s display was Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez, MLB.com’s Ian Browne reported on Tuesday.
“That was one of the most impressive BPs that you could see,” Martinez said. “No hesitation, no stopping. It was beautiful to watch.
“I see for the first time he is demanding more out of every pitch,” the Hall of Famer added. “He’s asking for more and more. He’s making good quality pitches, but he wants to improve them.”
Rodriguez has had impressive stretches for the Sox when healthy. He went 13-5 with a 3.82 ERA in 27 games, 23 of those being starts, last season. But health issues have limited him in each of the past two seasons.
“When is Eddie going to make 25 or 30 starts? His winning percentage doesn’t scare me at all,” Martinez said. “He’s going to win. He just needs to stay on the bump and hit the 25 to 30 mark and see what happens.”
Cora said that Rodriguez has become one of the most popular guys to watch at camp.
“The work he put in the offseason is paying off. He’s repeating his delivery,” Cora said. “You ask any of those guys, everybody was watching. He’s kind of like the favorite pitcher of the whole camp. When he throws live BPs, everybody is out there watching.
“[It’s] just a matter of him putting a whole season [together], and we do feel it’s going to happen this year. Looking forward, he’ll be great for us. He’s going to be good.”
If Rodriguez were to make a significant jump this season, it would catapult the Red Sox’s already very good rotation into an even better one, with solid options from top to bottom.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images