Red Sox ace Eduardo Rodriguez will sit out the rest of the season because of a heart issue, which the team believes is related to the southpaw’s recent contraction of COVID-19.
Rodriguez was diagnosed last week with myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart. The 27-year-old tested positive for the novel coronavirus before spring training 2.0, but was cleared to return to team workouts on July 18. Five days later, an MRI revealed Rodriguez’s heart condition, prompting the team to shut him down. Doctors told Rodriguez that up to 20 percent of people who’ve been infected with COVID-19 are diagnosed with myocarditis.
“That’s the most important part of your body, so when you hear that, the first time I hear it I was kind of scared a little,” Rodriguez said. “Now that I know what it is, it’s still scary, but I know exactly what it is. Just talk to my mom, talk to my wife, they know what I have and everything. Now we just gotta take the rest. That’s hard, but you gotta take a rest.”
Despite how much is still unknown about the long-term effects of COVID-19, the Red Sox believe Rodriguez will make a full recovery. Chaim Bloom, Red Sox chief baseball officer, described the complication as “mild” multiple times.
“We are confident that he is going to make a full recovery and that his long-term prognosis is excellent,” Bloom said. “But the fact of the matter is that there just isn’t enough time left this season to safely ramp him back up to pitching…..While the heart is affected like this, we just can’t responsibly put any this kind of cardiovascular load on him. So once it resolves, we’ll be able to progress him back.
“This case, while it’s something that is persistent, is not something that has impacted or damaged the functioning of his heart. Now myocarditis following COVID, it is obviously not something that the medical community has a lot of data on because the virus itself is new, much less in an athlete.”
Rodriguez’s condition serves as a reminder that older and/or immunocompromised individuals are not the only people who should be concerned about contracting the coronavirus.
“You’re more at risk when you’re older, but it hits the young pretty hard, too, at times,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said. “And Eddie just, unfortunately, is one of those guys that it hit hard, and to get to lose an entire season, it’s pretty rough on anybody.”
With Chris Sale sidelined by Tommy John surgery, Rodriguez, who went 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA last season, was expected to be the team’s No. 1 starter this season.
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