For weeks, as the Red Sox starting rotation stumbled and fumbled, there was help on the horizon.
Joe Kelly (shoulder impingement) and Eduardo Rodriguez (knee) would arrive soon enough and lift the staff with their returns.
Perhaps sooner than anticipated, thanks to Monday night's rainout, Kelly is set to return Saturday against Cleveland and make his first start since April 19.
As for Rodriguez, he's going to be a while. The Red Sox revealed Tuesday that Rodriguez would not be making his scheduled rehab start for Pawtucket Thursday due to recurring soreness in the knee that sidelined him at the end of March.
Rodriguez was recalled from his rehab assignment, stopping the clock.
What happens next is anyone's guess.
It may be difficult to see the proverbial silver lining in this development, but the physical setback at least explains why Rodriguez was pitching with diminished velocity in his recent rehab efforts.
While a year ago as a rookie he would routinely touch 95-96 mph, Rodriguez was stuck in third gear with his velocity, frequently topping out at 90-91 mph.
"We were trying to evaluate the performances and talk to him about what he was feeling,'' recounted John Farrell to reporters in Kansas City on Tuesday, "and talk to him about what we'd like to see, if possible. That's where he revealed that he's on occasion feeling [the discomfort].’’
Farrell revealed that Rodriguez feels the soreness most in "fielding drills, the change of direction.''
It's clear that Rodriguez was unable -- or unwilling - to fully trust his knee as he goes through his delivery. That explains the drop off in velocity and effectiveness.
Left unclear, however, are two other points:
1) The original injury to Rodriguez took place Feb. 27. That's 12 weeks ago this coming Saturday.
Recall that the Sox repeatedly used terms like "tweak'' to describe what Rodriguez did to his knee (technically, a sublixation, or temporary dislocation of the knee cap. They also noted that the organization had "dodged a bullet,'' with the minor mishap, as there was no structural damage done to the knee.
There would be no surgery necessary and then the general consensus was that Rodriguez would rejoin the rotation well before the end of April.
Now? It's unlikely that Rodriguez will pitch for the Red Sox before the calendar turns to June.
What happened here? Was the injury originally misdiagnosed?
It seems odd that such a minor injury could result in a recovery period of more than three months.
2) It's worth noting that Rodriguez had a similar setback while coming up in the Baltimore Orioles' organization and his inability to recover from that in short order made the Orioles question his toughness and durability.
Reportedly, that episode changed how the Orioles viewed the young lefty. They sent him to the Red Sox in 2014 in exchange for Andrew Miller, surprising others around the game, many of whom viewed Rodriguez -- a young, hard-throwing lefty -- as virtually untouchable.
Rodriguez certainly hinted at that promise a year ago when he made his debut on the final weekend of May and went on to win 10 games as a rookie.
Perhaps, Rodriguez will return to the mound in a matter of weeks and help lift the rotation for the second half of the season.
But that was certainly not the expectation -- or timetable -- when Rodriguez limped off a back practice field in Fort Myers in late February.