Red Sox: David Price’s “barking” elbow could keep him away from Fenway crowd

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 04: David Price
ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 04: David Price /

David Price will have to face a Fenway crowd annoyed by his recent antics unless his elbow keeps the Boston Red Sox starter from making his next start.

How will David Price be received by Red Sox Nation amidst controversy stemming from his latest brush with the media? We may not get the chance to find out, at least not tonight.

Price is currently scheduled to start Friday night’s game when the Red Sox return to begin their latest homestand. It would be his first start at Fenway since the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy revealed the sordid details of Price’s confrontation with NESN broadcaster Dennis Eckersley. Fans who have become fed up with the left-hander’s childish behavior were eager to voice their opinions through a chorus of boos, only it now looks like Price won’t take the mound to receive them.

Shaughnessy reported Friday morning that Price’s elbow is “barking” again, which could lead to a possible stint on the disabled list.

The Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman tacked on a report that Price was “likely” to be scratched from Friday’s start.

The Red Sox have every incentive to be cautious with the arm of their $217 million man. If there are any concerns of discomfort related to the issues that cropped up last spring, it’s in everyone’s best interest to play it safe and skip his next start.

Yet we can’t help but think that the timing is suspicious, to say the least. While the team will make their decisions with the pitcher’s long-term health in mind, the perception can easily be misconstrued as Price running away from the wrath of an annoyed fan base.

Price is coming off of his worst start in over a month, where he was shelled for five runs over five innings in Los Angeles. The injury concerns that are now coming to light could be a legitimate explanation for this poor performance. It could also be a convenient excuse.

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It’s never fair to question if a player is legitimately injured. What we can question is Price’s character in the aftermath of his outburst against Eckersley. A stint on the disabled list, unless it’s backdated, would push Price’s earliest return to the beginning of the team’s next road trip. How fortuitous the scheduling would be if it allowed the Red Sox to keep Price away from the Fenway crowd until the worst of this controversy has blown over. If even a hint of this turns out to be true, it’s a bad look for Price and the Red Sox.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that Price was sent for an MRI on Thursday. While the results haven’t been revealed, the Red Sox wouldn’t have sent him for testing if there wasn’t reason to be concerned. Price’s arm issues may very well be real, yet the reality is that he can’t begin to make amends to an angry fan base if he can’t pitch.

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The only way for Price to truly move past this is to face the music. Take the mound at Fenway and deliver a vintage performance that leaves fans with little choice but to cheer him again. Pitch well enough to earn his massive salary and fans won’t care quite as much about which Hall of Famers he offends.