David Price (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twenty-one days ago, the first MRI was taken on David Price’s left elbow. It wasn’t too long after that it was determined that a second opinion would be needed.
Two days later, Price and the Red Sox were celebrating the good news: no surgery, no PRP injection and just 7-10 days of rest before potentially launching the road back to pitching again.
But here we sit here. No games. No bullpen sessions. No long toss. Only some throwing into a net.
So, what should we make of where Price is at?
The pitcher offered this explanation to WEEI.com when asked about the situation.
“It’s making sure whenever I come back, it’s to stay back, not to be back,” Price said. “I know that some people can’t understand that.”
The Red Sox are still proclaiming that there is nothing to see. He went through another check-up Tuesday and the plan remains the same.
“Strength gains have been had but we’re going to continue to stay in the strengthening phase of this,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We’re continuing to get his arm moving in the cage, in the workout room. But as far as initiating a full-blown throwing program, we’re not at that point yet. We’re getting closer. That’ll be happening ideally in the coming days.”
Farrell then added, “You go into these kind of open-ended. You’re not really sure what specific day it’s going to take place. You don’t really attach yourself to a calendar. You’ve got to listen to the pitchers situation, how his body is responding and what the objective tests are telling us. He’s getting closer to getting a ball back in his hand.”
The way this is unfolding, there is a very real chance we don’t see Price pitch in April. And as long as there continues to be no news of an injection, or change of course, that would be OK.
The thinking is that as much as Price might want to pitch, this is about getting a guy who has thrown more pitches than anybody in baseball over the past three years to a good place come the final two months. Thanks to the Red Sox’ rotation, they seemingly have that luxury.
It’s not what people want to hear, but in this case it has become a necessity.
One American League manager recently surmised that Price’s postseason struggles might be, in part, due to the tractor pull that is getting through the season. It might not be the be-all, end-all when it comes to the postseason narrative, but it does make some sense.
There is nothing wrong with Price not pitching 200 innings. There is everything wrong with not being able to lean on your $30 million-a-year pitcher when it counts the most. And the guess here is that the Red Sox have swerved off onto that road when dealing with this injury.
It was time to think differently about Price. And that’s why we’re still sitting here waiting.
“He has kept his arm moving,” Farrell said. “He’s incorporated some throwing, he’s incorporated some plyometrics with the arm and movement as you would throwing a baseball. He’s not static or stagnant in terms of the full range of motion used to throw a baseball.”