There has been no formal conversation between Ron Roenicke and Nathan Eovaldi, but the Red Sox manager came closer than ever before Tuesday to tipping his hand regarding his Opening Day starter.

Eduardo Rodriguez remains home recovering from the coronavirus. He’s unlikely to join Boston in time to take the ball July 24 against the Orioles. Eovaldi’s current five-day schedule would have pitching again Sunday and then next Friday when Baltimore comes to Fenway Park.

Chris Sale will miss the season after Tommy John surgery, Rick Porcello signed with the Mets in free agency and David Price was traded to the Dodgers. Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett are long gone, and that takes you all the way back to the start of the 2009 season.

Eovaldi looks set to etch his name in club history, and he seems quite prepared to do so after his latest intrasquad outing Tuesday morning. He scattered four hits and didn’t issue a walk between the on-field mound and the covered bullpen under the grandstand, retreating when a brief storm swept through in the top of the fourth inning.

“I feel like I’m ready to go,” Eovaldi said. “I went 82 pitches today. I’m not going out there and taking it easy, either.

“I’m throwing all my pitches. I’m using my mix. I feel like I’m ready.”


What does Roenicke think about that? Certainly he’d like to have Rodriguez available after eclipsing 200 innings pitched and 200 strikeouts in a breakout 2019. But Eovaldi is the most experienced starter the Red Sox currently have in summer camp, and he appears to be approaching peak form.

“I haven’t said anything to him yet,” Roenicke said. “That conversation will probably happen in the next day or two. You guys can figure out the numbers there.”

Eovaldi was limited to just 23 appearances last season after April surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. Only 12 of those were starts, and he finished with a 5.99 earned-run average. It was an inauspicious beginning to the four-year, $68-million deal he signed coming off a 2018 World Series victory.

“Before we came back for Spring Training 2.0 or whatever you want to call it I was throwing a lot,” Eovaldi said. “Five or six innings, around 100 pitches each time – it was almost like a nice little break and then build back up.”

Eovaldi’s willingness to sacrifice and his performance during that postseason gave him instant credibility in the clubhouse. The 30-year-old’s middling career numbers still leave him with plenty to prove. Fronting a rotation expected by most to struggle could present the ideal challenge.

“I think any time you’re in that position and you’re one of the guys a team counts on, it’s a good feeling,” Roenicke said. “He’s pitched enough in the big leagues. He’s had enough success in the big leagues. He’s gone through struggles in the big leagues. I think all of those things allow him to handle it if we go Opening Day with him.


“I’m not worried about the makeup. I know there will be a little anxiety there, and that’s fine. But we feel good if he’s that guy.”

BOBBY DALBEC has recovered from COVID-19 and three Red Sox teammates are progressing toward the same outcome.

Boston Manager Ron Roenicke said pitchers Eduardo Rodriguez, Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor all seem to be edging closer to making their respective summer camp debuts.

Rodriguez and Hernandez remain at home while Taylor tested positive during the club’s intake process and is isolated in a city hotel room. All three pitchers seem likely to miss the July 24 opener against the Orioles.

“We’re starting to see some good things on testing,” Roenicke said. “I don’t want to say exactly what that is, but there’s a progression. A lot of times you start seeing good things with the antibodies and the other testing, and we’re starting to see those now.”

Rodriguez has been able to continue his workouts at home and is throwing into a net in his backyard. Hernandez is playing catch and could start throwing in earnest soon after he reports. Taylor has been more limited due to his confinement.

“The testing has been better on all three of them,” Roenicke said. “We know that they’re getting over it and once we start getting those better tests we’re getting close.”

THE RED SOX signed fourth-round pick Jeremy Wu-Yelland to a $200k bonus, according to a report from’s Jim Callis. Wu-Yelland, a lefty reliever from the University of Hawaii, received significantly less than the $487,900 recommended slot value at pick No. 118.

Boston has now reached agreements with at least three of its four draft picks in Wu-Yelland, first-round pick Nick Yorke ($2.7 million) and third-rounder Blaze Jordan ($1.75 million). The club has only announced Yorke’s deal so far, with two sources saying that delays in the lab processing the bloodwork of prospects has delayed the announcements of other signings.

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