David Price. (NIck Churiaro/USA Today Sports)
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — It’s a good thing John Farrell is finding himself at the self-proclaimed “Happiest Place on Earth.” He might need every bit of good news he can find by the end of the day.
Prior to playing the Braves at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex, the Red Sox manager reiterated that there was no news yet to be had when it came to David Price’s second opinion on the pitcher’s injured left elbow. Both Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Neal ElAttrache were slated to visit with Price in Indianapolis Friday afternoon at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“I don’t know that you’re ever saying it’s easier to deal with an injury, especially when it’s a core player. If there’s time to be missed, it’s felt. Hopefully the way he’s progressed the last couple days is encouraging news. Again, it’s hard to predict. Any time you’re going to miss time from a core player, that’s going to have an impact on your team.”
Farrell has first-hand experience when it comes to players who Dr. Andrews steer in a different direction than the original diagnosis, with his son, Luke, avoiding Tommy John surgery thanks to a visit to the orthopedist.
The manager did note that there were no warning signs in 2016 that any of this might be possible with Price.
“You would think after 230 innings if that was an issue there would be some ill-effects of that at some point during the year, which he never experienced,” Farrell said. “Most major league starters are never going to feel pristine every time they walk to the mound. You look at the number of innings he’s pitched over the course of his career, even the last three years, it’s the most in baseball. He’s been durable. This was unexpected.”
– The Red Sox aren’t anointing Pablo Sandoval their everyday third baseman yet, but, according to Farrell, the player has left a pretty powerful impression to this point.
“He’s shown more in the first week of games than he did all of last spring,” the manager said. “From plays he’s made defensively, the range he’s showing, the way he’s getting down the line. He’s not a base-stealer, we know that. He’s much more athletic. His at-bats have been much more consistent. This is like we have a much different player this year compared to last.”
Sandoval is 5-for-12 (.417) with an 1.000 OPS in his four Grapefruit League games so far, going 1-for-3 vs. lefties with a deep fly out to left field.
“The fact that he was searching for that right-handed swing before, now he feels like a more confident hitter overall and certainly from the right side,” Farrell said. “I think a lot has to do with just his body. It’s allowed the swing to be repeated. It’s more aggressive and the bat path is much more consistent.”
– While Hanley Ramirez said Thursday his right shoulder issue was more of an issue than last year, when he also eased into a throwing program, Farrell remains optimistic the ailment won’t curtail the plan to pay Ramirez at first base against left-handed starters come Opening Day.
“I would love to give a timeline, but I can’t,” Farrell said. “Based on all the testing in the training room, we feel like our medical staff is he will get over this. If there’s not marked improvement in the short run, I”m sure further tests will take place. But there’s nothing to say today that he’s not going to be ready at first base defensively for the plan outlined.”
– Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz both threw live batting practice for the first time, Friday, back at JetBlue Park.
Pomeranz threw 27 pitches to catcher Blake Swihart, facing batters Dan Butler, Chris Young, and Josh Ockimey. Wright threw 31 pitches to catcher Christian Vazquez, facing batters Yoan Aybar, Michael Chavis, Kyri Washington, and Josh Ockimey.
– This was Andrew Benintendi’s first trip to Disney World.