FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For the Red Sox, the most significant storyline of Spring Training cruised to a smooth and satisfying finish on Sunday afternoon.David Price is healthy and strong, and looking ready to regain his past dominance.The lefty, who didn't even hit so much as a speed bump during
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For the Red Sox, the most significant storyline of Spring Training cruised to a smooth and satisfying finish on Sunday afternoon.
David Price is healthy and strong, and looking ready to regain his past dominance.
The lefty, who didn't even hit so much as a speed bump during these six weeks in Fort Myers, finished strong in Sunday's 6-1 win over the Twins, striking out four and allowing one hit and a run over three innings.
After Price exited the game, he threw another three innings in the bullpen.
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"Every five days, I felt better and better," Price said. "Even as the game went on, I continued to feel better. To me, this has been the best I've felt for an entire Spring Training and I'm excited for Friday."
Friday is the second game of the regular season for the Red Sox, and Price will get the start for that night's game against the Rays.
That puts Price well ahead of last year's pace, when he didn't pitch until the 50th game of the season because of left elbow woes and made just 11 starts before going on the DL again.
"It was solid. He feels great. That's the most important thing," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "We know what happened last year. I was just talking to [pitching coach] Dana [LeVangie] and he feels he's in a great place, and that's very important for us. We know how important he is for this organization, for the team and for the season. And that's the plan -- keep him healthy and if he's healthy, he's one of the best pitchers in the big leagues."
Price won all three of his Grapefruit League starts, posting a 2.25 ERA. Equally important were the aggressive bullpen sessions and the Minor League games on the backfield.
In each activity, Price built more arm strength and regained some of the feel for his pitches he lost due to the missed time last year.
Not only has Price pitched well, but he's been enthusiastic during every interview, providing a tell-tale sign for how good he feels physically.
The repertoire is pretty much where he wants it at this point.
"Still always working on fastball command," said Price. "That's key for me. Curveball was really good for me. Cutter to both sides of the plate was good. I threw some good changeups -- a couple of them that were just off for balls, but they had the action that I wanted on them so that was good for me to have the curveball I've had these past couple of outings. That's usually a pitch that doesn't get very good or sharp until March or April or May. It usually takes me a while. I feel good with all four pitches right now."
With a healthy and effective Price behind ace Chris Sale in the starting rotation, the Red Sox feel good about their chances this season of winning the American League East title for a third straight season and carrying that success into October this time.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.