The Red Sox have been waiting for an opportunity to call up Eduardo Rodriguez, and it sounds like they have found one. According to the Providence Journal's Tim Britton, Rodriguez is on his way to join the big-league club. No corresponding move is known at this time, but there are educated guesses to be made.
Rodriguez is coming up to start in place of Steven Wright on Thursday against the Rangers in Texas. Both pitchers last took the mound on May 23, so they are on the same schedule, and Wright was always assumed to be a temporary bandage applied to the gaping wound that was Justin Masterson's rotation spot. That bandage isn't being ripped off just yet, though, as Rodriguez is coming up to get his big-league debut out of the way, and to simulate an off-day for the rest of Boston's rotation. As he's a potential long-term answer currently succeeding at Triple-A, there is no better time than when the Red Sox could use the assist.
So, the Sox won't be optioning Wright to Pawtucket or vacating his rotation spot or anything like that. Remember, though, that it was just Tuesday that the Sox were considering demoting Joe Kelly to Triple-A for Rodriguez if Kelly can't turn things around. Should Kelly fail to pass Boston's tests in his next start or starts, what Rodriguez does on Thursday could have serious implications for Kelly's role the rest of the year.
So, we're likely to see someone like Heath Hembree sent back down to Pawtucket for Rodriguez's one-day stint, and if injury strikes somewhere on the roster, Hembree (or whomever) will get himself called back up before the 10-day waiting period wraps up.
As for what we can expect from Rodriguez, he's made significant strides from this time last year, when he was treading water at Double-A in the Orioles' system before Boston dealt Andrew Miller for him at the trade deadline. Coming to the Red Sox allowed him to figure out which version of his change-up worked for him (hint: not the one the O's were pushing), and the minor tweaks Boston's Double-A coaching staff made to his mechanics helped him repeat them to the point where his fastball command improved.
There remains work to be done, but it's unclear if he has anything left to learn in the minors at this point. The majors might be the best place for Rodriguez to get his education, especially at a time when the back-end of the Sox rotation needs a boost. His first class will come Thursday, and while we don't know when the second one is scheduled, this is still a potentially big moment in the season.