Price not blaming video games for carpal tunnel

May 9th, 2018

NEW YORK -- Red Sox lefty has been cleared to make his next scheduled start on Saturday against the Blue Jays after a productive bullpen session on Thursday at Yankee Stadium.

The side session occurred a day after Price would have pitched at Yankee Stadium in an outing that was scratched when he was diagnosed with a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Price also added that he doesn't believe his hobby of playing video games, and in particular the increasingly-popular "Fortnite," has anything to do with the ailment that caused numbness in his left hand on Sunday in Texas.

"I won't be playing at the field. That's already caused enough noise," said Price. "That's not the issue though, I promise you that. If that was the cause of the problem, it started back in 1997 when I got my first PlayStation when I was 12 years old. I have always played video games. I have always played with my teammates in the offseason, at the field, at the hotel. That is kind of my generation, that is what I do. If I need to shut down video games and pick up a new hobby, then so be it, but I don't think that is the cause."

After meeting with the doctors, does Price know how he developed carpal tunnel syndrome?

"This is just something that happened, you know, over time. This didn't stem from any one thing," said Price. "I'm born in 1985, so that's the video game's generation. Being a Red Sox is the least amount of video games I've ever played being in Major League Baseball. It's a very common thing, especially with my generation of that age. That's when the video games really took off.

"It's not something that just happened this year. This is a spot that I've always had to have work done. It just got a lot worse and really aggressive than it ever had, so it's something we can take care of. Just got a lot of different ways to combat it, and we're doing a little bit of everything.

"It's just kind of doing the same motion over and over and over. It's an area I've had to work on for as long as I can remember, to be honest. I've never had it get as bad as it was a couple of days ago. It hadn't really gotten to that point, but we're doing everything that we can right now, and I'm looking forward to Saturday, and feeling strong, and getting back out there to help us win."

Price had a full examination in Boston on Tuesday, and any arm issues related to the elbow, forearm and shoulder were ruled out. This was particularly good news, considering Price was limited to 11 starts in 2017 due to elbow woes.

"The word they used was pristine," said Price. "That's not me. I'm not using any other words. That was the word that the radiologist and [another doctor] used, was pristine. That was good, because a lot of the testing that we did could have came back and said there was something wrong with my heart or something like that.

"[I] could have gotten some serious results from the tests that I did at the hospital and to get this, that was good. But I was very adamant about my elbow and my shoulder both being fine. Forearm as well. I knew it was in my wrist and I knew it started there and I knew it wasn't above that."

How will Price get rid of the symptoms?

"We're dry needling. We're just going to dry needle my wrist and just a lot of flushing that area out," said Price. "Just trying to calm that area down and get that swelling out, because whenever it swells, it just puts a lot of pressure on all of the nerves and the tendon that's going into my hand and my fingers."

Doctors did not tell Price he had to stop playing video games, nor did Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

"I'm going to sleep with a brace on. Doing stuff like that to make sure my wrist stays locked back and doesn't get bent up under me. Stuff like that," Price said. "I'm just going to try and take the use out of my left hand out of a lot of I guess everyday stuff that I would normally use it [for]. This morning I brushed my teeth with my right hand just to not use my left. Stuff like that. Just keep an eye on it and make sure I don't use my left hand for everything like I usually do."

Price said a last resort for getting rid of the carpal tunnel syndrome would be to undergo surgery, which requires a recovery time of two months. But he said that is not an option during the 2018 season.

"There are steps before that that we would take before [surgery]," said Price. "I'm pitching the rest of the year."

The year started brilliantly for Price, as he recorded 14 scoreless innings over his first two starts.

Trouble started in his third start against the Yankees. On a bitterly-cold night at Fenway, Price couldn't gain feeling of the baseball and came out after one shaky inning.

Price rebounded for a solid start against the Angels, then pitched brilliantly against the A's for seven innings before giving up a three-run homer in the eighth in a 4-1 loss. The next start against the Rays was shaky (5 2/3 innings, eight hits, five earned runs). Then came his worst outing of the year last Thursday at Texas, when he was belted around for six hits and seven earned runs over 3 2/3 innings.

Three days later, Price was set to throw a bullpen session in Texas, but a brutal case of allergies caused him to postpone it until Monday in New York.

But roughly an hour after the allergy attack prevented the bullpen session in Texas, Price felt the numbness, which he said was completely different than what he felt at Fenway Park when the cold weather impacted his ability to grip the ball.

"It's just my thumb, pointer, and my middle finger," Price said of where the carpal tunnel manifests in the form of numbness.

In Thursday's bullpen session, Price started to feel like himself again.

"Just eased into it and the longer it went, the more effort I put behind it and I walked out of there feeling good about it and looking forward to Saturday," Price said.