BOSTON (CBS) — After two ugly rehab outings with Triple-A Pawtucket, David Price entered his 2017 debut surrounded by doubt that his elbow would even hold up, let alone be strong enough for him to pitch at his normal level.
Price may not have been dominant in his season debut on Monday against the White Sox in Chicago, but the southpaw was able to battle through five innings without significant damage – neither to his elbow nor on the scoreboard – and left the mound with a 4-3 lead. The Red Sox may have ended up losing 5-4, but Price’s return was a most welcome one for a Red Sox rotation in need of more stability.
It’s still very early and it remains to be seen whether Price will hold up for the rest of the season, but there’s no doubt that his debut went better than most expected. He declared “I’m back” when he spoke to reporters after the game, so it’s clear how Price himself feels about his health and performance right now.
“Honestly, I don’t think I throw a single pitch at 99 percent. Everything’s 100 percent,” said Price. “I haven’t gotten to that point in my career yet where I taper off of certain pitches. My health is not in my mind. I feel healthy.”
Price threw 88 pitches, hitting an average velocity of 94.6 mph with his fastball (via MLB.com). He started strong with just one hit allowed in the first two innings.
The only major blemish on Price’s outing came in the third inning, when he walked the White Sox’ Adam Angel and Tim Anderson before allowing a three-run home run to Melky Cabrera. He hit the first two batters of the fifth inning, but worked his way out of the jam without any further damage.
If Price can work his way back to being his usual self at the top of the Red Sox rotation, it would be a massive upgrade for the staff. Few understand Price’s potential value more than manager John Farrell.
“Adding a David Price to your rotation is clearly a positive,” said Farrell after the game. “He came out of today feeling good about himself physically, and as we continue, we’ll take some time to stretch him out and keep building him, but David’s return is a key to us.”