Boston Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez was scratched from his scheduled Opening Day start due to a "dead arm," manager Alex Cora announced Friday.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will take the mound instead when Boston opens the season Thursday at Fenway Park against the Baltimore Orioles.
Rodriguez missed the 2020 season after being diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart linked to COVID-19.
Rodriguez, who turns 28 next month, struggled Monday during his fourth start of spring training, allowing two runs, three hits and two walks in two innings against the Tampa Bay Rays.
"I think it's just dead arm," Cora said. "He didn't feel as strong as the previous outings arm-wise. Shoulder, arm, 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."
Cora said Rodriguez still could avoid a trip to the injured list and make his regular turn in the rotation.
"It sucks for him because going into '20 he was supposed to be the Opening Day starter," Cora said. "Going into '21, we announced it and now he's not. But I told him yesterday, I said, 'Hey, man. The way you throw the ball, the way your career is going, at one point in your career you will be an Opening Day starter. Maybe more than once.' So he took it as a professional.
"With him, I think the communication is very clear. It's very genuine. And for him to accept it and think about the future and not the first game of the season, it is a testament to who he is right now as a pitcher, as a person, as a leader in this team."
Rodriguez finished sixth in the American League Cy Young Award voting in 2019 after going 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA and 213 strikeouts in 34 starts.
Eovaldi, 31, was 4-2 with a 3.72 ERA in nine starts last season, striking out 52 batters and walking only seven in 48 1/3 innings of work.
--Field Level Media