Eduardo Rodriguez throws first bullpen session

Eduardo Rodriguez suffered a minor knee injury during winter ball that has put him a little behind, but he was cleared for his first bullpen session yesterday.

The 24 year old hadn’t even participated in fielding drills with his teammates yet, though he had done some agility drills, before throwing 40 pitches during his session today.  One of the main reasons he’d been holding back is there was some concern about the injured knee being the same one he’d hurt last season.

The session wasn’t anything spectacular according to team officials, but it was “a step in the right direction.” Since this was his first time on a mound since he tweaked his knee, that type of response suggests everyone was simply hoping he’d make it through the session without incident. When he throws his second bullpen session on Friday, however, they’ll probably be looking for some progress.

Rodriguez’s recovery is being watched rather closely for several reasons. Perhaps the most urgent in timing is the fact that he’s in the designated pool of pitchers for Venezuela and he apparently really wants to represent his country in the World Baseball Classic. If he’s not well on his way to peak form, however, it’s unlikely he’ll make the trip.

There’s also the fact that he’s competing with Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright for the two spots in Boston’s rotation. Wright is also recovering from an injury (shoulder), so Rodriguez isn’t the only one who’s playing catch up at the start of spring training.

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