E-Rod's injured knee passes first test

E-Rod's injured knee passes first test

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez cleared a physical and mental hurdle on Wednesday when he threw his first side session since suffering a patellar subluxation (kneecap instability) in his right knee.

"For first time back on the mound, I think more than anything else, it was good for him mentally," said Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis. "It was a good first day for him back on the mound. We saw what we wanted to see. He felt that he could be normal. That's the biggest thing. You've got to have that confidence in not only as a pitcher, your arm, but your entire body, to do what you do. So that was good for him."

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It was a conservative session for Rodriguez, and that was by design.

"We had the catcher in front of home plate," said Willis. "This was strictly for him, feeling his landing and feeling a little bit of weight transfer. It was a very medium intensity type of day."

The Red Sox will soon map out a plan that will outline when Rodriguez should start pitching in games.

"It's the first step," said Willis. "The whole thing, even what's gone on before today, has been part of the process. Getting to this point is another phase. It went very well. More of a mental day for him to regain that confidence, and seemingly he was able to do that."

With Rodriguez likely to start the season on the disabled list, Steven Wright, Henry Owens and Roenis Elias are in competition for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.