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Eduardo Rodriguez asked to join Team Venezuela in WBC, but politely declines

03.15.17 at 12:06 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez (Jonathan Dyer/USA Today)

Eduardo Rodriguez (Jonathan Dyer/USA Today)

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Eduardo Rodriguez could have joined the excitement in San Diego. He instead to focus on his real job.

Prior to his team’s game against the Rays Wednesday, Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Rodriguez had been asked by Team Venezuela to join its club for the next round at the World Baseball Classic, but the lefty declined the opportunity.

Rodriguez was initially planning on playing in the tournament before hurting his knee while playing in the Venezuelan Winter League.

“They requested and he denied,” Farrell said. “He decided to stay here. Given all he has come off this winter, the treatment he currently goes through. He’s decided to stay here.”

Venezuela kicks off its Pool F play with a matchup against the United States Wednesday night, in which Felix Hernandez starts for his home country. The club has dealt with major run prevention issues throughout the tournament, giving up 11 runs to Mexico, 10 to Italy and 11 in its last game against Puerto Rico.

Rodriguez has put himself in a solid position to occupy the No. 3 spot in the Red Sox’ rotation, assuming David Price starts the year on the disabled list. He has made three Grapefruit League outings, giving up three runs in nine innings while striking out seven and walking two.

“In addition to showing good stuff and throwing strikes, the fact that his slider has become more of defined pitch, and when I say defined I mean the shape of it, the action to it, that’s become more of true weapon,” Farrell said. “Last year his slider would be more of a cutter and to a hitter there wasn’t a lot of separation between the pitches. There’s more of that this year. There’s more of put-away pitch for him at times, so that adjustment that he’s gone through has been a net-plus right now.”

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