Think of how much has changed over the past 587 days.
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press
That's how long it had been since Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (pictured) had thrown a pitch in a regular season game.
ERod's journey back included testing positive for COVID-19, and inflammation of his heart which doctors theorized was likely caused by the virus. Symptoms of myocarditis include chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, and arrhythmias. At the very least, it's uncomfortable and at its worst, it can be life-threatening.
And as if that wasn't enough, he missed his first start of 2021 with inflammation in his elbow.
So you can probably understand how emotional Wednesday was for the Boston lefty who said that it felt like he was making his first MLB start.
Rodriguez gave up two home runs, but faced the minimum number of hitters in three of his five innings, striking out seven without issuing a walk. He threw 71% of his pitches for strikes and only got to one three-ball count.
The result was a 7-3 Red Sox win over the Orioles - their fourth in a row - putting them in a tie for first place in the American League East just days after a disheartening three-game losing streak to begin the season.
Speaking after the game, manager Alex Cora was effusive in his comments about Rodriguez. "I think today's story is not about hitting or defense -- it's about Eduardo," Cora said. "For him to compete out there and give us five strong innings, that was very gratifying for the organization, for each individual here. For him to perform that way is a testament to where he's at right now in his career, who he is as a person. I know it's a big day for him."
With Nathan Eovaldi appearing to be locked in early in the season, an effective Rodriguez can make a huge difference as Boston waits for the return of Chris Sale, and continues to develop the likes of Tanner Houck and Nick Pivetta.
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