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After 'pen session, Price ready for next step

Barnes sharp vs. Rays; Feltman coming along
@IanMBrowne
March 21, 2019

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Four days after David Price was scratched from his Grapefruit League start against the Rays, the lefty looked fully recovered on Thursday when he threw an extended bullpen session that had the workload of a game. “I felt really good about it,” Price said. “Got up

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Four days after David Price was scratched from his Grapefruit League start against the Rays, the lefty looked fully recovered on Thursday when he threw an extended bullpen session that had the workload of a game.

“I felt really good about it,” Price said. “Got up and down four times, threw 55 pitches, eight pitches inbetween to simulate the warmups and 30 to get loose. In total, close to 100 pitches, maybe even a little bit more. Felt good, felt strong the entire time.”

Due to a conservative workload that was done by design and the start missed because of the illness, Price has pitched just in one Grapefruit League game.

He will likely start on Tuesday in an exhibition game against the Cubs in Arizona, which could well be a touch-and-feel session that wouldn’t preclude him from pitching in the season-opening series in Seattle.

“He’s slated to pitch in Arizona, the second one, but just like last year, it might be one inning or it might be a five-inning thing,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.

By comparison, Price threw three innings in his final start of Spring Training last year. He then made his regular-season debut five days later at Tropicana Field against the Rays.

If not for the illness, Price would likely have started the second game of this season against the Mariners on March 29, following Chris Sale.

Cora will slot in the rest of the starters after Sale in the coming days.

“However he feels [Friday]. As you know, this is a guy I trust,” Cora said. “I do trust him. And he knows it. If he tells me that he’s ready, he’s ready. We saw it in October. I saw it during the season. The relationship that we have, this guy is different than the others. We’ll see how he comes in [Friday], but it wouldn’t surprise me if he says he’s ready to go. We’ll decide what we have to decide.”

“I could get out there again [in Spring Training]; I’m sure I will,” Price said. “If not, I feel good, honestly. Today was a very good day. Anticipate feeling really good tomorrow, playing good catch and getting back out there and throwing a bullpen and getting ready.”

Barnes in top form
Closer candidate Matt Barnes had his best outing of Spring Training during Thursday night's 8-0 win over the Rays, striking out all three batters he faced. Of the five times Barnes has pitched this spring, this was his first 1-2-3 inning.

“Today was a good day,” Barnes said. “It was only the fifth outing. It takes a few times to get to where you need to. You’re not going to be going to be in midseason form in three outings when you’ve had three months off.”

Cora sees Barnes well ahead of where he was last year at this time.

“The breaking ball was the best one he’s thrown here in Spring Training,” Cora said. “It was 12 to 6. The other one was a little more slurvy. So that had to do too with him getting hit [earlier in Spring Training]. Stuff-wise, compared to last year, he’s way ahead. This time last year, his velocity wasn’t there, and he kind of picked it up at the end against the Cubs. I remember that. But he’s in a good spot. As you guys know, he’s a big part of what we’re going to try to accomplish.”

Feltman still in development phase
Righty prospect Durbin Feltman was again called up from Minor League camp and turned in his third consecutive scoreless outing for the Red Sox. The hard-throwing Feltman, ranked No. 12 among Red Sox prospects according MLB Pipeline, retired all three batters he faced and ended the game with a strikeout.

But Cora noted some of the things Feltman still needs to work on.

“Good breaking ball at the end, but it’s not there yet,” Cora said. “He’s still learning, and delivery-wise there’s a few things [pitching coach] Dana [LeVangie] has noticed. It’s a work in progress, but he’ll be a good one.”

Up next
Sale makes his final tune-up before Opening Day on Friday when he takes the short trip across town to face the Twins. This will be Sale’s second Grapefruit League start. He was dominant last time out, throwing four shutout innings against the Braves. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast live on MLB.TV.

Ryan Brasier, another closer candidate, will see action out of the bullpen. A strong group of position players will make the trip, including Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and J.D. Martinez.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.