BOSTON — A feel-good story takes the mound for the Red Sox on Monday night at Fenway Park, in that Eduardo Rodriguez says he feels good.
“I’ve been throwing 30-plus starts this year,” the left-hander, who will start Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against Houston for the Bosox, said Sunday afternoon. “If you ask me that, that shows you everything. I’m 100 percent. I’ve got two starts already in the postseason. I’m 100 percent on everything.”
The news is heartening because the 28-year-old, who posted a 4.74 ERA over 32 regular-season appearances (all but one of them starts) and started two games in the Red Sox’s AL Division Series win over the Rays, made news for only bad reasons last year. He might have suffered the harshest known case of COVID among active professional athletes, as the infection led to myocarditis which cost him all of last season and left him unable to merely walk for months.
Rodriguez said he didn’t begrudge his many teammates who opted against getting vaccinated against the pandemic; the Red Sox were among the few clubs that never reached the 85-percent threshold that would have liberated them from myriad restrictions. Nevertheless, he made clear his respect for the virus that so many Americans have inexplicably attempted to play down.
“I just feel like everybody [can] choose to see the way they want to see everything. Even with the vaccine, if you want to get or not, it’s your choice,” Rodriguez said. “I just want everybody to be safe because I know how it is. I know how it feels, and I’ve just got to send thanks to God to be here because a lot of people are already dead because of that, and I just am glad to be here.”
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he went with Rodriguez over right-hander Nick Pivetta partly because of Rodriguez’s southpaw classification, as lefty Chris Sale will start Game 5 and Cora didn’t want the Astros to see consecutive portsiders. Pivetta will start Game 4 unless he is needed to help out of the bullpen in Game 3.
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