Eduardo Rodriguez offers latest COVID-19 wake-up call

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By WEEI 93.7

Eduardo Rodriguez was cruising along, preparing for the 2020 season -- whenever it might come -- religiously. While some were thrown off by the unknown of dates and agreement, perhaps letting waistlines grow and arm strength diminish, he was ones who would be ready to hit the ground running.

Then came COVID-19.

"I would say the first four days were the worst days," said the Red Sox ace, having now returned to the team. "I felt all the symptoms, wake up in the morning, get out of bed and feel 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."

He added, "As soon as I got it, I knew it was 14 days. I soon as I got it, I start feeling like a headache or something like that, a little headache. I was like, OK, I think I have it but I think I’m going to be able to keep working out through this but then I started feeling more symptoms and all that. Then, after the 13, 14 days, I went, I don’t know if I’m going to be available to make it to the season because I already lost 14 days without baseball stuff. That’s when I was thinking I wouldn’t be available to start the season."

In a nutshell, Rodriguez experienced the kind of physical plummeting that has come with so many of these coronavirus cases.

"I’ve never been that sick in my life and I don’t want to get that sick again," he admitted.

'I feel like I was 100 years old' pic.twitter.com/pzZUxEHbYy

— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) July 20, 2020

Rodriguez won't be ready for Opening Day, with his return dependent on the progress made over the coming days.

For the lefty, the reality of his situation sunk in even as his condition improved. The euphoria that had come with earning the right to pitch Opening Day, no matter when it was, had to be put on the back-burner.

"It was hard because I had that and as soon as they said there’s going to be a baseball season I was sitting in my house and feeling bad but thinking about baseball is starting and you’re not going to be there. I was thinking about it all the time," he said. "s soon as I got back I was thinking, I have to get back. Thinking all the time."

It appears as though Rodriguez will be able to put his sickness in the rearview mirror, going on to play a significant role in this abbreviated 2020 season. But that doesn't mean COVID-19 didn't leave a mark. It is a reality that the pitcher and others -- such as Braves star Freddie Freeman -- are trying to use as a wake-up call for those who don't think the disease is such a big deal.

"I was one of those people to get hit really hard," Rodriguez said. "So I would say you have to wear your mask all the time. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Because if you’re one of those guys 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. You better be safe all the time. That’s what I got."

Freddie Freeman says his "scariest night" while battling COVID-19 was when his fever spiked to 104.5 degrees.The @Braves star said a prayer that night: "Please don't take me." pic.twitter.com/xm9DWaEtyl

— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) July 18, 2020