David Price is on the verge of returning to the Boston Red Sox rotation, possibly as soon as this weekend against the Angels.
The Boston Red Sox have struggled to piece together a full rotation over the last few weeks but the return of David Price will go a long way toward solidifying this staff.
According to MassLive’s Chris Cotillo, Price could be activated this weekend when the Red Sox wrap up their road trip in Los Angeles against the Angels.
Price threw a 54-pitch simulated three-inning game in Colorado on Tuesday, a pitch count believed to have approached 100 when factoring in his work in the bullpen and warmups. The lefty felt optimistic that he’s ready to reclaim his spot in the rotation.
"“He looked good. He spun a few breaking balls, too, which is a great sign,” manager Alex Cora said. “Let’s see how he reacts tomorrow and we’ll go from there. There’s a chance he’ll start over the weekend in Anaheim.”"
There was speculation that Price would return last Sunday in San Diego but those plans were scrapped when the team decided he needed more than a bullpen session to be deemed ready. There isn’t enough time to ramp him up on a proper rehab assignment with the minor league seasons winding down so a simulated game against big league hitters will have to suffice.
Price feels he’s fully recovered from the procedure to treat a cyst on his left wrist that has sidelined him for nearly a month. He claims he could have been ready to pitch against the Rockies this week but grabbing a bat to hit in a National League ballpark would have been an unnecessary risk. Coors Field isn’t the ideal spot for an injured pitcher to make his return in either. Getting lit up in a hitter’s paradise risks shaking Price’s confidence. He’s 0-2 with a 5.93 ERA in two career starts at Coors.
Mike Trout‘s Angels are no pushover but Angel Stadium is far kinder to pitchers and Price owns a respectable 3.54 ERA in 11 starts in that ballpark.
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It’s unclear which game Price would return in since the team hasn’t confirmed he’ll be activated this weekend. Saturday would be the logical option, allowing the Red Sox to skip the ineffective Brian Johnson. After cycling through the other trio of starters, Price could start again on Thursday, September 5 against the Minnesota Twins.
Boston will need to incorporate a fifth starter again after that but September roster expansion will make it more feasible to piece together a bullpen game. Johnson and the other underwhelming options the Red Sox have given spot starts to have struggled to give them more than a few innings.
Price was in the midst of his best season in Boston, going 7-2 with a 3.16 ERA before the cyst on his wrist wrecked his delivery and sent him into a tailspin. He went 0-3 with a 10.58 ERA over his next four starts. A seven-run shellacking in the Bronx finally forced Price to admit something was wrong and he’s been on the injured list ever since.
If Boston is getting the pre-cyst version of Price back soon, his presence at the top of the rotation will give the team a massive boost as they desperately try to crawl back into playoff contention. The Red Sox aren’t getting Chris Sale back this season but the return of Price would give them the closest they’ve had in a while to the rotation they opened the season with.