The Red Sox have a timetable for David Price’s return
Boston Red Sox LHP David Price has missed the entirety of the 2017 season with a left elbow strain.
The wait could be coming to an end. After weeks of slow rehabilitation and intentionally refusing to place any specific details on when he’ll be back, it’s looking like the Red Sox have a date for David Price’s return.
Before Price can step onto a major league mound for the first time this season, he’ll have to build his inning count in the minor leagues. Manager John Farrell outlined a scenario that could see him make his first rehab start by May 14.
After throwing a three-inning simulated game at home on May 5, he’s scheduled to pitch a four-inning set on Tuesday in Milwaukee. If all goes well, he’ll lineup to make his first rehab start five days later.
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Per Scott Lauber at ESPN, Farrell expects Price to make “more than a couple starts” in the minor leagues, which would mark the final phase of a rehabilitation process that began in Spring Training. After experiencing left elbow soreness and inflammation in early March, Price visited orthopedic surgeons Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Neil ElAttrache for an expert consultation. Visits to the specialists don’t typically result in positive news, but for Price, the recommendation of rest and medication was as good as he could have hoped for.
Price’s first minor league start will be limited to four innings, however, he is slated to pitch every five days and increase his inning totals with each start. Assuming he makes subsequent starts on May 19 and May 24, the program will have him major league ready by the Red Sox’ series against the Chicago White Sox between May 29-31.
In his most recent simulated game, he was reportedly pushing his fastball into the mid-90s and looked strong with his command. The Red Sox have been deliberately slow with his recovery, allowing him to only pitch three and four innings in his first two simulated games respectively, but the goal has always been to have him back to complete health. In the second year of a $217 million contract, the club’s caution stands to reason.
In Price’s absence, the Red Sox have put together a 16-14 record, though pitching can’t be to blame. Prior to Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, the rotation has a 4.06 ERA and has a 10.00 strikeouts-per-nine ratio. Despite the season-long dominance of Chris Sale, a string of stellar starts from Rick Porcello, and a surprisingly consistent Eduardo Rodriguez – the club is in need of Price’s return.
The realization that Steven Wright, the club’s fifth starter, would miss the entirety of the season leaves a dark hole at the back of the rotation. Even though the knuckleballer has struggled this season with an 8.25 ERA, the replacement options aren’t much better. Veteran RHP Kyle Kendrick, whose contract was purchased to fill in for Wright, allowed six runs in four innings during his first start. Behind him are Henry Owens and Brian Johnson, neither of whom inspire much confidence.
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Price’s return would solidify the back of the rotation by pushing Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz into the four and five slots respectively. More importantly, it would give the Red Sox the three-headed ace that they dreamt about before a Spring Training injury derailed those plans.