BOSTON (CBS) — Eduardo Rodriguez strolled into Fenway Park on Saturday, a happy man that baseball was in front of him — and his battle with COVID-19 was behind him.

The Red Sox ace had to wait to get his 2020 season restarted again, after testing positive for COVID-19 in Miami, Florida just before the start of summer camp. Rodriguez said the virus knocked him out for two weeks, as the 27-year-old experienced all the symptoms.

“I’ve never been that sick in my life, and I don’t want to get that sick again,” Rodriguez told reporters on a Zoom call Sunday. “I would say the first four days were the worst days. I felt all the symptoms, woke up in the morning, got out of bed and felt like I was 100 years old. My body was tired all the time, throwing up, headaches — all the symptoms. But it was the first four days I had it all. After that, it started going away and I started feeling better.”

After his experience with the virus, Rodriguez is urging everyone to wear masks to help stop the spread.

“I would say you have to wear your mask all the time. Wash your hands. Keep your distance,” he urged. “Because if you’re one of those who gets hit really hard, you’re going to be in bed and having a hard time doing day-to-day stuff like going to the kitchen or taking a shower, things like that. You’re going to have a hard time.”

Because of his ordeal with COVID-19, there was an added level of excitement for Rodriguez when he finally arrived in Boston late last week. He practiced for the first time of summer camp on Saturday, tossing a 25-pitch bullpen session, and his stuff was pretty good despite the lengthy layoff.

“I just threw a bullpen and it feels really good location-wise, pitching-wise,” he said. “So I’ve got to say thanks to God that I’m here, and I’m available to throw. And the way that I felt yesterday was really good.”

Rodriguez won 19 games for the Red Sox last season, and was penciled in as Boston’s ace for 2020 throughout spring training. But he isn’t sure when he’ll first toe the rubber for Boston, with the 60-game season set to begin Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.

With Rodriguez just getting started again, the Red Sox have named Nathan Eolaldi as their Opening Day starter against the O’s.


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