Boston starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez is not available for Opening Day on Friday, but is scheduled to throw a simulated game in Worcester as part of his rehab. The Red Sox hope to have him back for his next scheduled start. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

 

BOSTON — Eduardo Rodriguez initially was scheduled to pitch on Opening Day for Boston, but instead will throw a simulated game at Worcester’s Polar Park on Friday while the Red Sox are in Boston opening the season against Baltimore.

The Orioles and Red Sox play Friday at 2:10 p.m. after Thursday’s scheduled opener was rained out.

Rodriguez dealt with dead arm late in spring training, pushing back his schedule. He likely will pitch three or four simulated innings Friday. The hope is he will be ready to be activated from the IL to make next turn through the rotation, likely April 8 in Baltimore.

“I think it’s like three up and downs,” Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said Friday. “I think the last bullpen was more about location and hitting your spots. Now it’s just like a regular simulated game or B-game. He’s going to face good hitters. So we’ll see how it goes.

“He feels good about it. I talked to him yesterday. Not too happy he is going to miss Opening Day, he’s not going to be around. But knowing that if he jumps this hurdle, good things are about to happen.”

Righty Nathan Eovaldi was scheduled to start in place of Rodriguez. Eovaldi won all three of his starts against Baltimore last season, allowing just two runs in 19 innings and striking out 18.

ALEX CORA, who missed the 2020 season after being suspended for his role in the Astros’ cheating scandal, wasn’t particularly disappointed that Boston’s Opening Day matchup against the Orioles was rained out.

For Cora, just being back at Fenway Park ready to manage the Red Sox is enough to be excited.

“I’m lucky to be here,” Cora said. “One day, two days, three days… I really don’t care, to be honest with you. I know there are a lot of guys who are very excited, but I think it’s for the best. (Friday) will be a better day weather-wise. The fans can really enjoy it. We can go out and enjoy it, too.”

FRANCISCO LINDOR, who inked a 10-year, $341 million contract extension with the Mets on Wednesday night, is close with Cora even though he never having managed the shortstop in the majors. Cora had special cleats ready for Opening Day to honor the fellow Puerto Rico native.

“As a kid, as an individual, as a friend, very proud of him,” Cora said. “He worked so hard to get to this point. From his decision to leave Puerto Rico to go to Orlando, to get his education in high school and be able to play high school baseball, it’s not easy. For him to be able to accomplish this, it’s amazing.

CATCHER CHRISTIAN Vázquez, who was hit in the face with an errantly thrown ball a week ago, was good to go for Opening Day. Cora said Vázquez had six or seven stitches in his face which were due to be removed Thursday or Friday.

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