It appears Eduardo Rodriguez doesn't mind a little tough love from his manager.
After the Boston Red Sox pitcher labored through an inefficient spring training outing Monday against the New York Mets, Alex Cora called him out, insisting it's time for Rodriguez to "step up."
“For him to go deeper into games, he needs to attack guys,” Cora said at the time. “His stuff is good, he got some swings and misses. But those are the things that we need to get better and he knows it.”
It's not the first time Cora has challenged Rodriguez publicly. On Tuesday, though, the 25-year-old said he's glad his manager holds him accountable.
"I like that he’s honest all the time,” Rodriguez told reporters in Fort Myers, via MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo. “Even if he tells (the media) or tells me, I like that because that puts me on pace to work more for making everybody happy.
"Everybody understands the point where I have to go. I like that because I know he worries about me. When he says things like that, it’s because he worries about me."
Cora worries about Rodriguez because he has such a high ceiling; the fifth-year veteran looked great earlier in spring training and is coming off the best season of his career in which he posted a 13-5 record and 3.82 ERA.
But Rodriguez's Achilles' heel is his ability to pitch deep into games: He pitched six full innings or more in just nine of his 23 starts in 2018 and never pitched more than 6 2/3 innings in an outing.
Rodriguez is well aware of this shortcoming, though, and will work to take Cora's message to heart.
"We just need to improve that and attack the hitter because that’s the point (of being) a starter,” Rodriguez added.
" ... Last year, I was throwing too many 5 ⅔ (inning outings) so I’m on his page, too. I want to go out there and throw seven innings almost every time I go out there.”
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