Thinking of all the Red Sox acquisitions over the last few months – from pitchers Rick Porcello and Wade Miley to free agent bats Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, as well as a couple of high-priced Cubans, it’s easy for one small trade last July to slip out of mind.

That July 31 deal with the Orioles was more about Baltimore getting reliever Andrew Miller. Besides, other deals (namely Jon Lester to the A’s) took the spotlight.

But Boston’s acquisition of minor league left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may turn out to be quite a coup for General Manager Ben Cherington.

In a small sample in spring training, Rodriguez has a team-leading seven strikeouts in two outings (5 2/3 innings).

Rodriguez features a fastball that reaches the high 90s, a well-developed change-up and a slider that is coming along. The Sea Dogs saw all of that when he reported to Portland in early August, after the trade with Baltimore.

Three weeks into his stint with the Sea Dogs, pitching coach Bob Kipper was impressed.

“He generates electric stuff,” Kipper said back then. “He really does.”

Kipper is credited with pushing Rodriguez to use his change-up more, even to left-handers. Rodriguez got on a roll with the Sea Dogs – 3-1, 0.96 ERA in six starts.

Rodriguez, who turns 22 on April 7, has been considered a top prospect since the Orioles signed him as a 16-year-old in 2010 out of Venezuela. He was invited to his first major league spring training as a 19-year-old. He finished that 2013 season in the Arizona Fall League, pitching three scoreless innings in the championship game.

Rodriguez began the 2014 season in Double-A, but he was not expected to stay there. However, Rodriguez went 3-7 with a 4.79 ERA with Bowie.

So maybe the Orioles thought Rodriguez was no longer a sure-bet. He became expendable.

Baltimore was in a race for the American League East title and was looking for upgrades. Boston had Miller, a soon-to-be free agent who was pitching well (2.34 ERA, 0.90 WHIP). Baltimore wanted him and, as Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said at the time, you have to trade quality to get quality.

In Portland, Rodriguez instantly looked like a top pitching prospect again. He credited Kipper for emphasizing the change-up, as well as fastball command on both sides of the plate.

“My fastball is working much better now,” said Rodriguez, who began throwing inside more.

Miller did fine for Baltimore (1.35/0.60) and the Orioles won the division. But now Miller is with the Yankees, and the Red Sox still have Rodriguez – he was recently put on the 40-man roster, so Boston has time to develop him in the minors.

The Red Sox again have a stacked rotation in Pawtucket, led by three former Portland left-handers: Rodriguez, Henry Owens, and Brian Johnson. Then there is Matt Barnes, Steven Wright and Edwin Escobar. Such potential does not always work out (Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and Anthony Ranaudo were all Pawtucket starters last year).

But Rodriguez is worth watching.

ELBOW ISSUES: Ranaudo left his game with the Rangers on Thursday with soreness in his right elbow. By Friday, Ranaudo said he was fine and he could make his next start this week.

The Rangers lost pitcher Yu Darvish to Tommy John surgery; yet another Japanese pitcher undergoing the ligament-transfer procedure that will sideline him for at least a year (Daisuke Matusaka and Junichi Tazawa are among those to have Tommy John surgery).

Starters in Japan pitch on five days’ rest, as opposed to four in the Major Leagues. That is one reason given for injury rates among Japanese pitchers. That has the Yankees considering a unique rotation this year that would give Masahiro Tanaka five days’ rest this year – utilizing off days and occasional spot starts from relievers or pitchers in Triple-A.

Tanaka was shut down at the end of last year with a small ligament tear in his elbow. New York has hoped he could avoid surgery and the extra day’s rest might be a wise precaution.

TIM FEDEROWICZ underwent surgery Friday on his right knee. The former Sea Dogs catcher was supposed to begin his first spring training camp with the Padres, but could now miss three to six months.

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