BOSTON (CBS) — David Price could still return to the Boston Red Sox before the end of May. The left-hander is set to make his first rehab start on Sunday for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox as he continues to recover from a strained left elbow.

Manager John Farrell said that Price will throw 70-75 pitches in his first rehab start, calling it a “significant step in his progression” in his recovery (via Price will likely make a second rehab start on Friday, May 19, after which the Red Sox will re-evaluate his status.

Barring any further setbacks, the earliest Price could return to the major leagues is on May 24 against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park. But it’s “more realistic” that he would return on May 29 on the road against the Chicago White Sox.

Price last made a simulated start on Tuesday at Miller Park in Milwaukee. He previously had a simulated game last Thursday at Fenway, throwing 50 pitches and touching 95 mph with his fastball. He previously had a 45-pitch bullpen session, after which he said on Twitter that he “feels great.”

[graphiq id=”fbNvKk43yNn” title=”David Price Career Pitching” width=”600″ height=”403″ url=”” frozen=”true”]

Red Sox president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski recently remarked that Price was showing “encouraging” signs in his recovery. The prospects of a rehab start and a late-May return certainly point in the right direction.

The Red Sox could surely use Price in the starting rotation right now. Red Sox starters have been pounded to the tune of 16 runs in 14.1 innings in the last three games (10.05 ERA), including Chris Sale’s first clunker of the season.

Farrell knows how much the Red Sox need Price as well as anyone.

“We’re going to add a frontline starter, so that’s going to be an initial boost of abilities and certainly expectations,” said Farrell. “That’s just David doing what he typically does. Any time you can send a starter of his caliber to the mound, it gives you a boost of confidence.”


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