Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora sent a message to Eduardo Rodriguez after Monday’s spring training game against the New York Mets.
It was well received.
One day after Cora called on Rodriguez to be more efficient with his pitches, the left-hander expressed appreciation for his skipper’s constructive criticism. Rodriguez, who threw 41 pitches over two innings Monday, acknowledged the importance of working deeper into games this season after lasting into the seventh inning in just two of his 23 starts in 2018.
“I like that he’s honest all the time,” Rodriguez said Tuesday at JetBlue Park, per MassLive.com. “Even if he tells (the media) or tells me, I like that because that puts me on pace to work more for making everybody happy. Everybody understands the point where I have to go. I like that because I know he worries about me. When he says things like that, it’s because he worries about me.”
Rodriguez was slated to go three innings Monday, but Cora lifted him after two frames due to a higher-than-anticipated pitch count. The young southpaw didn’t allow a run, struck out two and didn’t walk anyone, but he still fell behind a few hitters, something he’ll need to avoid once the regular season rolls around.
“We just need to improve that and attack the hitter because that’s the the point (of being) a starter,” Rodriguez said, per MassLive.com. “When your team just scored four runs, you’ve got to go out there and get three quick outs and go back to the dugout.”
Rodriguez, who threw in the bullpen after Monday’s start, went 13-5 with a career-best 3.82 ERA and 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings over 27 appearances in 2018. He’ll turn 26 in April and likely begin the 2019 campaign in a rotation also featuring Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Nathan Eovaldi.
Cora used the media as a way to motivate Rodriguez on a couple of different occasions last season, and it appears the Red Sox manager will take a similar approach this season in the hopes of getting the most out of the talented lefty.
So far, Rodriguez is responding well, understanding that Cora’s public comments come with good intentions.