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Not A Huge Surprise, But It Sounds Like David Price Will Start The Season On The Disabled List

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox

This isn’t shocking news in the least bit, but it might be for the fans who thought that everything was all good after we learned that David Price wouldn’t need surgery to repair his injured elbow. He will, however, more than likely start the season on the disabled list anyway.

The Red Sox essentially got the best news that a team could get after sending a pitcher to see Dr. James Andrews — no surgery, and no injection. There was no timetable, according to Price, while John Farrell said the team would wait 7-10 days to reevaluate Price’s progress. After seven days, Price threw into a net on Saturday and Sunday, and had this to say on Monday.

“It feels good,” Price told reporters in Fort Myers on Monday. “It’s been getting better every day. I’m kind of surprised that it’s responded the way that it has. If you asked me a week ago I’d have said I felt OK. And I feel really good right now. Today is the best it’s felt. Just everyday activities. I don’t feel anything in there right now. So that’s coming after two straight days of throwing baseballs into the net so it’s responded really well.”

So, I know that the initial reaction to hearing that your $217 million pitcher, who’s starting year-two of a seven-year deal on the disabled list after having a disappointing season in year-one, is going to draw a negative reaction. Quite understandable. But let’s also keep things in perspective here, and realize that this situation could’ve been much, much worse. First of all, Price could’ve missed the entire season. That’s number one. Number two, Price’s elbow has responded surprisingly well to rest and rehab thus far. Of course, that can always change. It changed for Carson Smith. But number three? Number three is that the Red Sox have Chris Sale.

I know it was an uncharacteristic season for Price in 2016, but if he goes down last year, the Red Sox aren’t winning the American League East. I mean, the guy still won 17 games for Boston. In 2017, though, the Red Sox can afford to lose Price for roughly 6-8 weeks, because they simply replace one of the best left-handed pitchers in the American League with another guy who fits that same description. It’s great that things continue to go well for Price in his road to recovery, but the Red Sox have the luxury of not needing to rush him back, thanks to the addition of Sale.

That being said, the pitching depth on this team was a question even before Price went down with his injury. The Red Sox had six starting pitchers for five rotation spots, but the bottom three were all injury question marks — Eduardo Rodriguez (knee), Steven Wright (shoulder), and Drew Pomeranz (elbow). If you’re looking at a mid-May return for Price — that hasn’t been reported; just speculating here — then you’re going to need all three of those guys to hold up for you to start the year. If they don’t, then you’re going to have to dip into a pool of starters at the minor league level that consists of Kyle Kendrick, Brian Johnson, Hector Velazquez, and Henry Owens.

I have more confidence in a Pres and Jhammmmmy relationship working out than I do in a Henry Owens major league start. Johnson is my sleeper this year, as far as Red Sox pitching depth goes. He feels good, he’s throwing the ball well, uptick in velocity, not a lot of hard contact against him. I feel good about Johnson getting a look this year. Kendrick is probably the guy that we’d see first, because, as Rob Bradford of WEEI.com points out, he’s got an opt-out in June. And then Velazquez isn’t anything to get super excited about, but he’ll surely be considered as a starting option, if need be.

But, go figure. One of the biggest selling points on bringing Price to Boston was his durability. If and when he ends up on the disabled list to open the season, it will be just his second trip to the disabled list in his entire ten-year major league career (2013, tricep).