Red Sox: David Price will make season debut Monday
By Sean Penney
Boston Red Sox left-handed pitcher David Price will make his long awaited season debut on Monday against the Chicago White Sox.
The wait it almost over. After months of wondering when we would see David Price on the mound for the Boston Red Sox, we finally have a return date to mark on our calendars.
Price will make his 2017 season debut on Monday against the Chicago White Sox. The series is shaping up to be must-see TV, with Price’s debut followed by Chris Sale‘s fist start against his former team.
Sale was previously penciled in to start that day with Tuesday’s starter still in question. Price’s return will push Sale back a day to fill that void and give him an extra day of rest.
Manager John Farrell expects that Price will be on a tighter pitch count than normal in his first start of the season. Slotting Sale behind him in the rotation helps protect the bullpen in case Price isn’t able to last long. If the bullpen is overworked covering for Price, they can count on Sale to go deep into the game the following day to give most of their relievers a rest.
Price has had two rehab starts with Triple-A Pawtucket and has failed to impress in both outings. He lasted only two innings in his first start, getting a quick hook after tossing 65 pitches. The abbreviated appearance necessitated one more tuneup in order for Price to build up his pitch count.
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His second start was a bit of a mixed bag. On the plus side, he managed to reach his target workload by throwing 89 pitches. He also showed good velocity, sitting mostly around 95 mph with his fastball and touching 96. On the other hand, the results were far from what the Red Sox were looking for. Price lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk.
Most of the damage was done in the first inning, so it’s somewhat encouraging that he settled down after that. He seemed to find more success with his changeup and cutter as the game went on. While it’s promising to see him using his other pitches, Price will get crushed in the big leagues if he can’t locate his fastball.
The biggest takeaway from Price’s rehab is that he appears to be healthy. Ever since he was shut down in spring training, there has been some concern he may not pitch this year. Now we know that’s not the case. Price insists that he’s healthy and his struggles in Pawtucket can be chalked up to rust.
That may be so, but have we seen enough of Price through two starts to feel good about him being ready to be activated? Maybe one more rehab start, just to see if he can actually perform against minor league hitters. It’s not a terrible idea.
You can bet that Price is chomping at the bit to get back to Boston and wanted no part of extending his stint in Pawtucket. That’s when management needs to step in and tell him he’s not coming back until he proves he’s ready. The Red Sox can’t afford to let Price work his way back into form at the big league level. They’ve already sputtered through enough spot starts from fringe pitchers who have worn out the bullpen.
Price should wait until he’s back to pitching like David Price again before returning. In his mind, maybe he’s at that point now. We’ll find out soon. Ready or not, here he comes.