Red Sox: David Price likely to begin 2017 season on disabled list
By Sean Penney
Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell finally admits that left-handed starter David Price appears likely to begin the season on the disabled list.
Last season, David Price notched his first win with the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day. This year? He may not even be with the team when the season opens next month.
It’s been a turbulent spring for the Red Sox pitching staff from a health perspective, with the biggest scare coming when elbow discomfort prompted Price to visit two of the country’s leading orthopedic surgeons to get a second opinion.
While surgery has been ruled out, at least for now, the veteran lefty still had to be shut down for over a week. He only recently began throwing again, starting with a simple routine of throwing into a net and progressing to playing light catch on flat ground from 60 feet.
Without a time table for Price to get back on the mound, it’s no surprise that manager John Farrell told reporters at Jet Blue Park on Tuesday that Price is likely to begin the season on the disabled list. Per WEEI’s Rob Bradford:
"“I think, at this point, it’d be hard to see him ready to go at the start of the season,” stated Farrell. “We really won’t have any kind of idea until he gets on the mound the first time, and right now I don’t know when that’s going to be.”"
Leaving Price behind in Fort Myers for an extended spring training seems to be the wisest option at this point. Even after he’s given the green light to throw off a mound again, he’s still far behind schedule to ramp up for the season. He’ll need time to build up his arm strength, so being deemed healthy doesn’t mean he’ll suddenly be ready to jump in for his typical workload during the first week of April.
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Price’s absence to open the season would mean that there’s room in the rotation for Steven Wright, Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez. One of them will eventually be bumped to the bullpen, but placing Price on the DL would give the Red Sox more time to evaluate which of their starters will be the odd man out. Each of them have shown flashes of brilliance at the major league level but they’ve also all had injury concerns of their own this spring.
A delayed start to Price’s season leaves the Red Sox holding their fingers crossed that the rest of the rotation makes it through the rest of camp healthy. Boston’s rotation would remain among the best in the league even if they had to get by without Price for a few weeks, but there’s little depth behind them.
On Tuesday, the Red Sox optioned left-handers Henry Owens and Brian Johnson, along with right-hander Brandon Workman, to Triple-A Pawtuket. Including them among the first batch of roster cuts when there are so many questions surrounding the pitching staff suggests the Red Sox aren’t all that comfortable with the depth waiting in the wings in Pawtucket.
Putting Price on the DL to begin the season may be what’s best for him and the team in the long run, but it could get ugly if another starter were to go down as well. This has the potential to be a great rotation, but we won’t want any part of testing their depth much further.