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Red Sox vs. Rays lineups: Eduardo Rodriguez is back

And Alex Verdugo makes his spring debut.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Atlanta Braves
A site for sore eyes.
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Less than a year after a brutal case of COVID-19 and myocarditis, Eduardo Rodriguez—whose career was thought to be in jeopardy from the illnesses—will make his first spring start this afternoon at 1:05 p.m.

Per ESPN’s Joon Lee, an OTM alumnus, Rodriguez said “At the beginning of COVID, I just wanted a chance to get past through that. Thank God I have a chance to survive that part and be available to get back to baseball and get cleared. ... I did everything that I can to get back to 100%, and now I’m here. I’m ready to go.”

So are we. It is hard to be a bit worried about E-Rod going forward, but I’m more generally worried about him being a pitcher than lasting effects of his illnesses. That said, I’m no doctor. That said, the Sox have a lot of doctors on staff, and E-Rod has access to his own doctors, and his appearance shows that they have faith he’ll be okay.

His appearance will dovetail with that of Alex Verdugo, who will make his spring debut in center field while batting second (soon to be called “the Duran slot,” unless I have it backward). Verdugo and Rodriguez highlight another strong Sox early March lineup as everyone scrambles to get up to speed in time for Opening Day. The Rays run out an extremely Rays lineup with old friend Rich Hill on the mound. It should be a good day at the park.

Rays lineup

1. Joey Wendle, SS

2. Francisco Mejía, DH

3. Brandon Lowe, 2B

4. Mike Brousseau, 3B

5. Brett Phillips, CF

6. Kevan Smith, C

7. Moises Gomez, LF

8. Garrett Whitley, RF

9. Tristan Gray, 1B

SP: Rich Hill, LHP

Red Sox lineup

1. Kiké Hernández, SS

2. Alex Verdugo, CF

3. J.D. Martinez, DH

4. Rafael Devers, 3B

5. Hunter Renfroe, RF

6. Marwin Gonzalez, 1B

7. Christian Vázquez, C

8. Christian Arroyo, 2B

9. Michael Gettys, LF

SP: Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP