Price looking forward to fresh start with Papi

'I'm ready to be his teammate and his friend,' new Red Sox ace says

February 20th, 2016

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For someone new to a team, lefty ace David Price looks comfortable in his surroundings. It is easy to spot him interacting smoothly with his teammates, manager, coaches and staff members. But Price still hasn't had a chance to share the clubhouse with David Ortiz, the star slugger who will retire at the end of the season.

Ortiz -- whom Price has feuded with verbally over the years -- is due into camp no later than Tuesday. Price sounds eager to get that relationship as teammates off on strong footing.

Spring Training info

"I hope so," Price said. "I'm ready to be his teammate and his friend. That's what I'm looking forward to. I want to be accepted by all my teammates, and that's something you need to have if you want to get to where you need to be."

Price spoke about a variety of other topics with media members on Saturday morning. Here is a sampling.

How important is the relationship between pitcher and catcher?

"It's very important and very special," Price said. "We're a battery. We're out there together. It's us two that are playing the game with that hitter. That's always something very special. Whenever you can make that good relationship with your catchers and have that trust, it takes you a long way."

Price isn't sure yet if Blake Swihart or Christian Vazquez will be his main catcher, but he's already gained a favorable impression of both of them.

Catching battle depends on Vazquez's health

"They work hard," Price said. "They're here early every day. They're always talking to pitchers. I like their body language just in throwing bullpens. That's huge. If I make a good pitch and it's just a couple of inches in or off, they give you that head nod because you executed a good pitch. That's always good to see."

Price has seen a lot of Clay Buchholz over the years from the opposing dugout. He is looking forward to being in a rotation with him this season.

"Unbelievable changeup," Price said. "Uses his fastball well. He gave us fits while I was in Tampa. When he's healthy, he's one of the better pitchers in baseball. That's the biggest key for him. He knows that, as well, and he's a very good pitcher."

Has Price already asserted himself as the leader of his new staff?

"I think everybody can lead," said Price. "That's not something where you stand up and say, 'OK guys, I'm going to be your leader.' Everybody has leadership qualities. Guys go about it in different ways, and I'm not going to change. I'm going to stay the same. I want to make sure I'm available to everybody and just be an open book."