Price logs first spring action in controlled game

Left-hander a fan of Red Sox's new approach focusing on lighter early workload

March 5th, 2018

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A Monday off-day for the Red Sox was an on-day for lefty , and it was one he was very satisfied with.
For the first time in Spring Training, Price pitched in a game, albeit a "controlled Minor League" game in which innings were cut off once a pitch limit was reached.
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Price looked sharp in his three innings, throwing 39 pitches, 31 of them for strikes. Throwing all fastballs and cutters, he struck out three and didn't walk anyone while scattering four hits.
The good news is that Price isn't being brought along slowly due to the left elbow injury that limited him to 11 starts in 2017. This is all part of a plan orchestrated by new manager Alex Cora and pitching coach Dana LeVangie to have all the starting pitchers go at a slower pace in Spring Training.
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For example, Price's start came just a day after ace Chris Sale made his debut this spring, which was also in a Minor League game.
"To get that first one out of the way in a controlled environment like that, it feels good," said Price. "Just to be able to stand here right now and feel as good as I feel, it's different than many other Spring Trainings."
Price expects he will make his Grapefruit League debut on Saturday, when the Red Sox play the Twins.
Much like Sale, Price is completely on board with the plan set forth by Cora and LeVangie and is confident it will pay dividends down the road.
"The way my arm feels and just the rest of my body feels, having this laid-back Spring Training, I think everybody's benefited from it and taking it nice and slow and getting ready the right way," Price said. "To be able to take it lighter right now, for all of us, it's got to help you down the road. You have to have a little more in the tank at that point [later] in the season. And hopefully the way we're doing it right now allows us to do that."
To make up for less game action during Spring Training, the starting pitchers have had more intensive work in their side sessions as a means of building up arm strength.

"This is different for all of us," said Price. "I don't think this is very common in Spring Training at all, not just here at our camp. I know a lot of people in the game of baseball, a lot of pitchers, and I never really heard of what we're doing from other guys. We talked about it whenever we went to lunch this offseason with Alex.
"He told us, 'Whenever it's your day for your bullpen, you're going to come to the team meeting, go inside, and after that you're going to go to the trainers' room, the weight room, get ready. The days you're throwing your bullpen, we want you focusing on your bullpen. You're not going to worry about [pitchers fielding practice], playing catch and covering first base. Your bullpen days are going to be days to get your work in.' It's been nice."
The nicest thing of all for Price is that the elbow woes that took so much away from his 2017 season are completely out of his mind.
"Yeah, I am [not thinking about the elbow]," Price said. "I had a very good offseason. [Trainer] Brandon Henry, we were together every day, he had a big offseason, got married, did a lot of stuff, but he always took time for me every single morning. I give a lot of credit to Brandon, getting in and getting it done, and I'm feeling good right now."
Where other Spring Trainings might have seemed monotonous for a veteran like Price, he is clearly excited about this one and the process toward what he believes will be his best season in Boston so far.
"I felt good warming back up after sitting down today," said Price. "I'm excited. I'm excited about tomorrow."