Boston Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez enjoyed a career season in 2019 when he tallied a 19-6 record with a 3.81 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and 213 strikeouts across 34 starts. He was on track to start for Boston on Opening Day last year until he was shut down ahead of the campaign due to myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart linked with COVID-19 infections.
The 27-year-old is back with the Red Sox for the start of spring training and spoke with reporters about his ordeal and recovery on Friday.
"At the beginning of COVID, I just wanted a chance to get past through that," Rodriguez explained, per Joon Lee of ESPN. "Thank God I have a chance to survive that part and be available to get back to baseball and get cleared. ... I did everything that I can to get back to 100 percent, and now I'm here. I'm ready to go."
While vaccine rollouts are occurring throughout North America, Rodriguez reminded all to remain cautious and to continue following recommended health and safety guidelines.
"Just wear your masks, wash your hands, be careful," he added. "Keep your distance with other people. This is not a thing that we can play around with. I was feeling really bad back in those days. Really, really bad. This is not something that we can play around with."
Members of the Washington Wizards, Buffalo Bills tight end Tommy Sweeney, Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum, and Cleveland Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett are just some examples of professional athletes who dealt with lingering coronavirus-related issues even after they recovered from initial infections.