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Eduardo Rodriguez set to return to the mound on Sunday

The Red Sox get one of their rotation members back.

The Red Sox rotation has been absolutely incredible to start the 2018 season, and while its performance has been mightily impressive without any additional context, it’s been even more impressive when you consider that it’s been missing three of its top six options on the preseason depth chart. That is set to change this weekend as the team is preparing to get back the guy with arguably the highest ceiling among the injured starters. Eduardo Rodriguez is coming back to the rotation, making his first start of 2018 on Sunday.

This is obviously a huge boost for the Red Sox, because even with how well the staff has been its highest ceiling involves Rodriguez pitching to his talent level on a consistent basis. We have seen flashes of that talent throughout his major-league career, but injuries have held him back. The lefty is still only entering his age-25 season, and he’s coming off a year in which he pitched to a 4.19 ERA over 137 13 innings with almost ten strikeouts per nine innings to go with just over three walks per nine and an impressive 3.61 DRA that came in 23 percent better than the league-average hitter.

It’s a bit of a surprise that Rodriguez has been able to make it back this quickly after undergoing knee surgery at the start of the offseason, though he’s been trending in the right direction since the team met for camp. While he obviously hasn’t pitched in a real minor-league game for a rehab appearance — the season just started yesterday — he’s been pitching against minor-league competition down on the complex and by all accounts has looked and felt good.

As for how the Red Sox will make room on the roster, they haven’t yet made that decision and likely won’t until Saturday or Sunday. The most likely cut will be Marcus Walden, who was the best story on the Opening Day roster and has looked alright at the major-league level. Still, he’s clearly the weakest link on the pitching staff and Hector Velazquez would be able to slot in as the long reliever. It’s also worth noting that Drew Pomeranz is set to make a minor-league rehab appearance at some point in the next week or so, and he could be making his return to the majors soon as well. Things are looking up for a team that has already gotten off to a 6-1 start.