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After a career year in 2019, Eduardo Rodriguez had to step away from the game while dealing with COVID-19. As he makes his return, can he pick up where he left off?

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

Eduardo Rodriguez was supposed to be the Opening Day starter for the Red Sox in 2020. COVID-19 had other plans, and instead of facing hitters during Summer Camp in early July, the 27-year-old found himself facing a physical challenge like he’d never experienced before.

“The first four days were the worst days,” Rodriguez told reporters on Sunday. “I felt all the symptoms. I would wake up in the morning, get out of bed and feel like I was 100 years old…My body was tired all the time. Throwing up. Headaches. All the symptoms.”

The lefty was finally cleared last week, and threw his first bullpen session on Saturday.

“The way that I felt yesterday was really good,” Rodriguez said. “It’s kind of hard mentally when you can’t go out there with everybody.”

Apr 24, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (57) throws a pitch against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Just throwing a baseball was a big step for Rodriguez, who at one point struggled with day-to-day tasks. “I was one of those people who got hit really hard,” Rodriguez said. “If you’re one of those guys who got hit really hard, you’re going to have a hard time doing daily stuff.” He added it took him over two weeks before he could do something as simple as ride a stationary bike.

While Rodriguez will still have to miss the beginning of the season as he builds his strength back up, both Rodriguez and Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke are optimistic that he will return sooner rather than later.

“He’s on a mission now to get himself in shape as fast as he can. We’ll get his arm built up and have him be active as fast as we can.”

The Red Sox will host the Blue Jays for a pair of exhibition games this week, before beginning their season Friday night at Fenway Park against the Baltimore Orioles.

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.