David Price’s First Rehab Start Didn’t Go So Well, But It’s Not Time To Panic Just Yet

I can hear the overreactions already. In his first rehab start for the PawSox tonight, David Price threw 65 pitches, 41 for strikes, lasted just two innings, allowed three earned runs on five hits, one of which was a home run. He did, however, strike out four batters in those two innings. He was slated to throw 85-90 pitches against Buffalo, but got the hook after 65 pitches because he labored through those first two innings.

For those who are panicking, I kindly ask you to calm the fuck down. Listen, I know how much money Price makes. I know how high the expectations are for him, especially after a disappointing first season in Boston. I know that the Red Sox could really use a half decent or better starting pitcher right now because Steven Wright, Kyle Kendrick and Hector Velazquez have all been dog shit. I know that the calendar says that it’s mid-May, but you have to treat this Price start like it’s spring training start number one on March 1st.

That’s basically what this is for him, which is why I was confused when the Red Sox made it seem like he’d need only two rehab starts and boom he’s magically ready to join the rotation. I don’t think anybody thought that this would be a smooth process. The guy was told back in March that he’d need elbow surgery if he were younger, so this was obviously going to be a rocky process, and it’s honestly progressed a lot better than I think most of us expected it to.

That’s a longwinded way to just say — relax. If spring training numbers don’t matter, which they don’t, then these numbers shouldn’t matter, either. What should matter is A.) How does he feel? He said after his start that he felt great.

B.) How is he going to feel tomorrow? We don’t know that yet. And C.) What was his velocity? Apparently there weren’t any radar guns there, because I haven’t seen any velocity readings, but it looked pretty good on those swings and misses shown above. But if we’re going to take a rational look at this, then yes, it’s fair to call this a setback. They wanted him to make two rehab starts and then rejoin the rotation. He’s not going to be able to do that if he only threw 65 pitches tonight when the plan was to throw 85-90 pitches.

But, if there even is such a thing, I think it’s a good setback. I think he needed three rehab starts minimum. The worst thing for Price would be if he comes back before he’s ready, underperforms again and gets torn to shreds by the media and the fans. I’m fine with him taking as much time as he needs, because anything they get from him is better than nothing, which is theoretically what they would’ve gotten from him if he had been younger and opted for season-ended surgery.

Patience is going to be key with his comeback, something that I’m assuming Red Sox fans aren’t going to have much of given the team’s mediocre start to the year a quarter of the way through the schedule.

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