FORT MYERS, Fla. -- What has seemed obvious for some time -- that Eduardo Rodriguez will not be ready for the start of the season -- was made official Thursday morning by John Farrell.
Rodriguez, who sustained a subluxation of the right knee almost three weeks ago, threw off the mound Wednesday afternoon for the first time since the injury.
Still, given that he'll need several more bullpen sessions before being cleared to pitch in a game, there isn't nearly enough time to build him up to be ready for the first week of April.
"He got off the mound for the first time [Wednesday],’’ said John Farrell of Rodriguez. "The best way to describe this is is he's going to go through phases of work. Right now, he's in a bullpen phase and that will be on an every-other-day basis until the intensity is ramped up. But he's not going to ready for the start of the season.
"We'll address each phase at it comes. Most importantly, we want to make sure his stride direction, his stride length is normal as we build up the intensity on top of that. There are steps that we have to go through here and I don't have an exact number of days he'll need to advance to that next phase. We've got to build to that point. As I said the other day, he needs spring training. It's a progressive, building-block approach here.''
With Rodriguez sidelined, the Sox have three candidates to replace him: lefties Henry Owens and Roenis Elias and knuckleballer Steven Wright.
Owens starts Thursday afternoon against Baltimore, while Elias will face Tampa Bay on Friday. Steven Wright pitched in relief Wednesday night against the Twins and will start early next week.