Nathan Eovaldi to replace Eduardo Rodriquez as Red Sox Opening Day starter

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Nick Goss
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Eovaldi to replace E-Rod as Red Sox Opening Day starter originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Red Sox begin the 2021 MLB season next week, but their planned Opening Day starter won't be on the mound.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced Friday that Nathan Eovaldi will replace Eduardo Rodriguez as the starter against the Baltimore Orioles in Thursday afternoon's opener at Fenway Park.

What's wrong with Rodriguez?

“I think that it’s just dead arm,” Cora told reporters Friday. “He didn’t feel as strong as the previous outings ---- arm-wise, shoulder. There's nothing specific there. He pushed hard for Thursday, but I think the smart thing from my end and from our end is to play it smart. Take the decision away from the player. We made the decision for him. As far as the schedule, it doesn’t add up."

Tomase's Red Sox spring training prospect observations: The Pitchers

Cora confirmed this current issue has nothing to do with the myocarditis condition Rodriguez endured last season after battling COVID-19. The 27-year-old veteran missed the entire shortened 2020 season as a result of his bout with COVID-19 and myocarditis.

Rodriguez struggled in Monday's spring training start versus the Tampa Bay Rays. He pitched just two innings and allowed two runs, three hits and two walks with one strikeout.

"The last one wasn't a great one as far as his stuff and his body," Cora said. "We've been very straightforward with him. His body is going to dictate what we're going to do with him. So his schedule got pushed back, he didn't throw a bullpen. He was supposed to throw a bullpen two days ago and he didn't throw it. He played catch yesterday and he felt fine.

"With the schedule the way that it is, he won't be able to post on Thursday, so we'll see how it plays out when he gets back to the mound."