Have the Red Sox Rushed David Price Back?

by Drew Tanguay | Posted on Sunday, May 28th, 2017
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Coming into the season having Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello atop the rotation for the Boston Red Sox, with a very talented lineup as well, the Red Sox entered 2017 with a World Series caliber roster. During spring training, former Cy Young Award winner, David Price felt pain his forearm and elbow, usually a strong signal that Tommy John surgery is awaiting you. Price and the Red Sox determined that surgery would not be necessary, and was shut down.

Two months later, Price’s progress had been going well and the Red Sox sent him to Pawtucket for a rehab assignment. Price was a complete disaster pitching in AAA. With two starts in Pawtucket, the left-hander allowed 9 runs (6 of them earned), on 12 hits through 5 2/3 innings, while carrying an 8/2 K:BB ratio. The only positive of those starts is that he suffered no set backs and says he feels fine, claiming he’s ready to be back pitching for the big league club.

Throughout Price’s bullpen sessions, simulated games, and his two rehab starts, the Red Sox were raving about David’s velocity on his fastball. Although it’s encouraging to hear that the elbow is no longer in pain and seeing his velocity is still there, it is nerve-racking that the Sox are having him throw that hard and make it seem like topping out at 95-96 MPH is a good thing when just two months ago we thought Tommy John was inevitable. Nevertheless, David Price only pitched in two rehab games, where he did not look one bit impressive.

Questions are raised about why the Red Sox have decided to call Price up, and schedule his start for Monday the 29th against the Chicago White Sox. Is this move out of desperation since the starting pitching has not been very good thus far? Is the team rushing him back because they’re paying him $30 million this year?

Since the news broke in spring training that Price was experiencing forearm and elbow soreness, I was all for him getting Tommy John right then and there. That type of pain seems like it will not just go away with rest, as many other pitchers have dealt with this injury as well. I felt that if Price had the surgery before the beginning of the season, he would be stronger for the 2018 season.

But now, if Price makes a few starts and this pain becomes apparent again, and the team ultimately decides Tommy John is needed, Price would then be out for two seasons. With John Farrell already on the hot seat as manager of the Red Sox, you have to wonder what will happen if the Price move blows up.

Having Price pitch the 29th also takes Chris Sale off his 5-day rest rhythm, as his start got pushed back to Tuesday against his former club. Sale would then be on 6-days rest between starts, and when a pitcher is on a historic start to their season, why choose his start to push back, rather than moving someone else back a day?

The Sox promoted 26-year-old LHP, Brian Johnson from Pawtucket to make a spot start against the Seattle Mariners. It was Johnson’s second start of the season and it was a masterful one. Johnson, making his Fenway Park debut, went the distance as he pitched a complete game shutout, in a 6-0 win for the Sox. After a start that great, the Red Sox immediately sent him back down to AAA. I was thinking that with an impressive start from Johnson, they would leave him in the rotation for a little while longer to give Price more time in the minors to make sure he was actually 100% ready. However, that was not the case here as Price is soon to be activated from the DL to make his start.

All eyes will be on David Price as he makes his season debut Monday, May 29th in the battle of the Sox, as the Red Sox travel to Chicago to face the White Sox. Coming off a 17-win season, with an ERA of 3.99 over 230 innings last season, we’ll see how David Price does in his second season in a Red Sox uniform.

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Drew Tanguay
About the Author

Drew is a Sport Management major at Husson University. Aspiring baseball executive. Very passionate about the game of baseball. Follow Drew on Twitter @DTang10.

  • Crusader10

    Good to see such a quality outing from Johnson. There is some hope there. I also hope Price is okay. Wouldn’t be good for the Sox to lose him now to TJ surgery.

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