Eduardo Rodriguez on comeback from COVID-19 myocarditis: 'I can be an example to others'

Eduardo Rodriguez has started eight games for the Boston Red Sox in 2021, and that's significant. Rodriguez missed the entire 2020 MLB season due to COVID-19 myocarditis. 

Rodriguez detailed his bout with COVID-19, and his myocarditis diagnosis, to James Wagner of the New York Times. Rodriguez was diagnosed with COVID-19 last June, and had some horrifying side effects from the virus, according to Wagner.

He said he vomited after each attempt at eating. His sense of taste and smell vanished. Rodriguez said all he could hold down was water or juice. He lost 20 pounds in 10 days, dropping to 218 pounds. He shivered in the shower regardless of the temperature of the water.

Rodriguez also had trouble getting out of bed, and wondered if he would have to be taken to the hospital.

After two weeks, Rodriguez tested negative for the virus. He was cleared to return to the Red Sox. But once he got back, he quickly noticed something was wrong. Rodriguez couldn't make it through bullpen sessions due to fatigue. He had to stop two sessions after only 10 pitches because he felt like he was going to faint. 

That's when Rodriguez was diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscles. Rodriguez's myocarditis came as a result of COVID-19. It's not thought to be a common side effect of the virus. Rodriguez is the only known MLB player to have dealt with myocarditis. 

As a result, Rodriguez couldn't do anything that would raise his heart rate. As the Red Sox played games, Rodriguez could only sit on the couch and watch television shows or movies, or talk with his family. He couldn't walk his dog or play video games out of fear those activities would raise his heart rate.

Eduardo Rodriguez fully recovered and back with Red Sox

Rodriguez lived a sedentary lifestyle for months, but was eventually cleared to return to the Red Sox after the regular season ended. He worked out even more than usual to get back to his normal playing weight, and has felt normal since his return. 

Rodriguez said he wants his experience to be an example for anyone downplaying COVID-19.

“Now that I’m recovered, I can be an example to others to take care of themselves,” he said. “This isn’t something like: ‘Oh, this is the flu — it’s not much.’”

Through eight starts, Rodriguez has a 4.70 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 44 innings. 

The Red Sox are among the teams that have not reached the 85-percent vaccination threshold set by MLB yet, but Rodriguez expressed a desire to receive the COVID-19 vaccine a few weeks ago, according to Wagner.

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