Scuffling E-Rod to remain in Red Sox rotation

Farrell, Willis hold closed-door meeting with young lefty

Scuffling E-Rod to remain in Red Sox rotation

BOSTON -- Following a third straight shaky start by Eduardo Rodriguez in the Red Sox's 5-1 loss to the Orioles on Thursday night, manager John Farrell said there are no current plans to remove the left-hander from the rotation.

However, not long after that, Rodriguez had a closed-door meeting in Farrell's office that also included pitching coach Carl Willis.

The Red Sox and Rodriguez know that they need to fix whatever has caused the pitcher to struggle so much since coming back from the disabled list.

At times, Rodriguez has lacked confidence in his secondary pitches. On Thursday, the clear issue was mislocation.

Farrell on 5-1 loss to Orioles

"I just missed spots a lot of times," said Rodriguez. "I couldn't go to the outside corner. It was just right in the middle with the fastball and the changeup. That's what happened."

Adam Jones started the scoring with a mammoth two-run homer against Rodriguez in the third.

Of the eight hits Rodriguez allowed, five were for extra bases. In four starts, he is 1-2 with a 6.97 ERA. The Red Sox didn't expect such struggles from one of their best pitchers last season.

"I have to locate much better, all my pitches," said Rodriguez.

The fact that Rodriguez topped out at 96 mph in this one demonstrates that he's regained his arm strength and confidence in the right knee he injured in late February.

"I think with each outing he's made, there has been an uptick in stuff," said Farrell. "That speaks to a little bit more free of mind on a physical standpoint. So I don't see knee being a hindrance or restriction in any way."

Rodriguez needs to pitch smarter.

"There are times when he hasn't forced the hitter to swing the bat before then going to change speeds," said Farrell. "It's somewhat the sequence and certainly the location."

At this point, Farrell doesn't think taking Rodriguez out of the rotation is the answer, even though he does have Minor League options.

"We have to continue to work on a combined effort," said Farrell. "Ultimately, it's the recognition of certain counts with certain hitters and to pitch accordingly. This is a matter of executing within the game. I think he's achieved some of the physical hurdles he's come over. Again this is pitching in the moment and in the situation at hand."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.