FORT MYERS, Fla. — The clock is ticking but whether Eduardo Rodriguez can beat it is far less important to the Boston Red Sox than the way in which he arrives.

Healthy and powerful is how Rodriguez described himself Thursday.

After throwing three innings against minor leaguers in a controlled environment, Rodriguez walked away encouraged and hopeful his season would get off to a strong start, and soon.

“It was pretty good,” he said. “I was just working on my mechanics. There was nothing about the (surgically repaired) knee. I just want to build my shoulder back. Three innings and it felt really good. Since the first day I got here I’ve put it in my mind that I have to get ready as quick as I can to help the team. That’s what I feel I’m doing right now.”

Rodriguez will throw in a minor league setting again in five days, which could leave him in line to start one of the final games of spring training if the Red Sox deem him ready.

Rodriguez is still building arm strength but has been happy with the progress since his surgery. It’s the best he’s felt since 2015 “before I had my first injury,” he said.


He’s posted a 4.23 ERA with a strikeout rate of 8.6 batters per nine innings over three major league seasons despite the knee injuries. The Red Sox won’t rush him back. If he’s not ready to start in the rotation for the regular season, his debut won’t come too long after that.

“I feel it’s more about myself getting ready to go 100 percent and not just go out there like I was in the past,” Rodriguez said. “Just go out there and try to pitch. You know what happened in past years. Go out there at 88, 89 mph and get people out. The plan is to get out there when I’m 100 percent.”

The Boston Red Sox scored three runs in the first inning and went to defeat the visiting Minnesota Twins 7-2 at Fort Myers, Florida, Friday.

BLUE JAYS: Left-hander Thomas Pannone was suspended for 80 games following a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance.

ANGELS: Shohei Ohtani was rocked for seven runs over 1 1/3 innings in his second spring-training start for the Los Angeles Angels, allowing long home runs to Ian Desmond and Nolan Arenado of Colorado.

TWINS-YANKEES: Minnesota acquired outfielder Jake Cave from New York for right-hander Luis Gil in a swap of minor leaguers.


YANKEES: Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson is back at spring-training camp, three days after having knee surgery.

ASTROS: A person familiar with the negotiations said the AL MVP, Jose Altuve, and the team agreed to a contract that guarantees him an additional $151 million over five seasons from 2020-24.

REDS: Third baseman Eugenio Suarez agreed to a $66 million, seven-year contract that makes him part of the foundation for Cincinnati’s long-term rebuilding.

NATIONALS: A person familiar with the deal said right-hander Jeremy Hellickson and Washington agreed to a minor league contract.

ED CHARLES, the third baseman known as “The Glider” who helped lead the Miracle Mets to the 1969 World Series title, died at age 84.

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