For the third consecutive season, the Boston Red Sox are going to have a new Opening Day starter.
After Nathan Eovaldi got the call last year, Alex Cora confirmed that one of the team's best young pitchers will get a chance to prove himself.
"It is gonna be Eduardo," Cora said, per WBZ's Dan Roche.
Yes, Eduardo Rodriguez will be making the first Opening Day start of his career. It has been a long road for him to this point, as Rodriguez missed the abbreviated 2020 MLB season as a result of myocarditis caused by COVID-19.
But now, he's back, and after a strong spring training, Cora is willing to trust E-Rod as the team's ace.
"He's one of the best out there," Cora said of Rodriguez. "He had a great season in '19. Last year he wasn't able to pitch for obvious reasons. What he's shown now is that he's healthy and ready to go."
Indeed, Rodriguez's '19 season was a strong one. He finished sixth in the AL Cy Young voting and had what was far and away the best season of his career. He made a league-high 34 starts on the season and put together an all-around strong campaign.
Rodriguez will now get a chance to build on that campaign and is excited for the opportunity to start on Opening Day.
"If I have the opportunity I'm going to be so happy to do it because that's something that everyone wants to do one time in their career," Rodriguez said before Cora made his announcement. "If I have the opportunity to do it this year, I'm gonna appreciate it. I'm gonna love it."
We'll soon see how Rodriguez fares in that role. The Red Sox are playing their first game of the season on April 1 against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. Rodriguez will go for his first win in more than a calendar year in that contest.