E-Rod, Red Sox pleased with lefty's '16 debut

Young hurler limits O's to 2 runs over 6 with no walks

E-Rod, Red Sox pleased with lefty's '16 debut

BALTIMORE -- By the time Eduardo Rodriguez took the mound for the second inning in his season debut, the Red Sox starter had a five-run cushion with which to work.

It was more than enough as Rodriguez threw six innings and allowed six hits and two runs in a 6-2 win over the Orioles on Tuesday night. The young left-hander was sharp in returning to a big league mound for the first time since dislocating his right kneecap in Spring Training.

"It was good to be back," said Rodriguez, who was coming off five appearances with Triple-A Pawtucket spread over two rehab assignments. "Pitched pretty good and I located my pitches pretty good. My changeup was a great key tonight."

Rodriguez left after throwing 89 pitches, including 61 strikes. He didn't allow any walks and had three strikeouts.

"I wouldn't say he was gassed," said manager John Farrell. "It might not have had the same life in the last inning, but I wanted to get him out on a positive note. We had the lead, I felt like giving a clean inning to the bullpen and they did a fantastic job tonight. So I thought it was a good job for him tonight."

Rodriguez went 10-6 with a 4.07 ERA as a rookie last season and is expected to be a key cog in the rotation.

"It's a guy that we thought would be in the middle of the rotation from the start of the season," Farrell said, "so to have him join us now, this is almost like a Trade Deadline big acquisition for us. Provided he goes out and pitches to his capabilities, it certainly adds to our rotation."

While Rodriguez was sharp, Farrell said there is still room for improvement, specifically with the lefty's velocity.

"I thought it was solid," Boston's manager said. "We've seen better velocity before, but I thought he stayed away from the middle of the plate for the most part. He threw a lot of strikes, he forced them to swing the bat when he did get into a 3-2 count. He pitched very comfortably, it looked like tonight."

Ben Raby is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.