David Price elbow shutdown, but worries not over

Photo: Matt Stone (Boston Herald)
Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

Did your heart skip a beat last Thursday when the Red Sox scratched David Price from his first scheduled Spring Training start on Sunday due to elbow and forearm soreness?

That is baseball lingo for one of the worst injuries, both in terms of performance and recovery time, that any pitcher can have.

The Red Sox were so concerned about this that they immediately sent Price to Indianapolis to see the two names in orthopedic surgeons (Dr. Andrews and Dr. ElAttrache) that scare every pitcher.

Everything pointing towards a possible injury that leads to Tommy John surgery.

Then Price sends a message from Indianapolis.

Scratching our heads to no avail, Price lets us know he is heading back to Fort Meyers. So what happened with the doctors in Indianapolis, or did he just take part in the NFL trials there?

The reports came out in an interview conducted by Peter Abraham, where Price revealed that the two doctors removed any fears of real damage to the arm or elbow.

Price shared what the doctors said, "That I have a very unique elbow. I’ve heard that before but not from guys that have done the surgeries that they’ve done and looked at as many elbows they’ve looked at. Just to hear it from those two guys felt good."

He further stated that the doctors were relieved at what they saw in his arm and that it was in a muscle, not in a ligament.

"They expected it to be a lot worse than what it was. That was both of them. They said it multiple times; we expected this to be a lot worse than what it really is. Everything that they said, honestly, couldn’t of … I don’t feel like that meeting could have went any better."

So that is the good news.

When pressed on what happened Tuesday when Price threw his simulation game, he provides some insights in to how this happens every Spring.

"Nothing (happened) out of the ordinary. It’s something I expect to happen every spring training. I expect to feel that little pop in there. Whenever that happens, I’m good to go. It’s something I always tell the trainers every spring training, I’m just waiting for that pop. Whenever that pop happens, I’m ready to go. It was in my warm-up pitches before my sim game. I threw two innings in the sim game, 35-40 pitches, and threw the ball extremely well. It didn’t hinder my two innings out there or anything like that. Came in after I had the sim game and did all my [postgame exercises]. For it to not affect any of that, that was good.”

The normal progression for Price in Spring Training is to work towards his elbow to pop, which for him means that he is loose and ready to go all out.

"It’s just whenever you go through the offseason and you’re not throwing every day, you gave stuff that, it’s going to build up in your arm. That’s everybody in here. That’s position players as well. I have a lot more mileage on my arm than a lot of guys. That stuff happens."

The mileage on Price's arm is not something to sniff at either.

He has 1671.2 innings pitched over nine seasons in the Majors, with six of those years being seasons of +200 innings pitched. That is a real work horse, something you don't often see in pitchers these days.

With the Red Sox on the hook for six more years of Price's seven year contract at $217 million, this is deeply concerning.

After the game on Friday, John Farrell presented their case.

"He is on his way back," Farrell said of Price. "No surgery, no ... injection of any kind. The approach we're going to take with him is he'll receive medication and treatment in the next seven to 10 days. We'll re-evaluate him at that time."

One is only left to wonder how long Price will need if he is cleared to resume throwing after 10 days or later if there is not enough recovery in his arm. He would need at least a week to build arm strength, if not more, before he could throw in a Spring Training game. It would also make sense that the Red Sox error on the side of conservative when bringing him back, so he would most likely have to be fully stretched out before they would allow him to pitch in the regular season.

What would the Red Sox rotation look like with Price starting the season on the disabled list?

The depth in starting pitchers would indicate, if they all return without problems from their own 2016 season injuries (Steven Wright - shoulder, Drew Pomeranz - arm, Eduardo Rodriguez - shoulder), that they would no longer have to fight for two spots. The Red Sox would break camp with all three of those starters in the rotation with Chris Sale and Rick Porcello.

The worries are not over, everyone will be watching Price's recovery very closely and on through the remainder of this season.

Post a comment or via twitter @erics_redsox with your thoughts.

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