Posted on March 3, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
That sound you just heard is all of New England collectively exhaling. Following an injury scare earlier this week that forced Boston Red Sox lefty David Price to seek a second opinion on an MRI of his elbow, the team announced Friday that their ace will not undergo Tommy John surgery or receive an injection of platelet-rich plasma.
Price spent Friday in Indianapolis seeking a second opinion from Tommy John expert Dr. James Andrews, which is typically a bad sign for pitchers. However, Dr. Andrews says Price does not need to go under the knife. Instead, Boston’s $217 million investment will be shutdown for seven to 10 days, which will hopefully be enough time for the soreness in his elbow and forearm to subside. Price first felt the discomfort after pitching a simulated game on Tuesday. He was subsequently scratched from his first start of spring training, which was scheduled for Sunday.
“We got good news,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters after the team’s spring training win over the Braves Friday afternoon. “We definitely feel it’s the best-case scenario in light of him having to miss some time and there’s no timetable for his return yet. But, still, we’ve got a definitive plan going forward and an encouraging one.”
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Price reported that his elbow was feeling better on Thursday, one day after undergoing the MRI. However, an inconclusive MRI that forced him to seek a second opinion from Dr. Andrews was an ominous sign for Red Sox fans, who feared the lefty would require surgery that would keep him out for the entire 2017 season.
“Even talking with David on his way up there, he felt with each passing hour he was becoming more free,” Farrell said. “As we talked about him experiencing the type of forearm issue in spring training (in previous years), it may be a little more intensified this year. But still, this is the spring-training arm (build-up) he goes through.”
With Price on his way back, the Red Sox are once again projected to have three former Cy Young winners leading their rotation this year, as Price is joined by Chris Sale and last year’s recipient Rick Porcello. Boston also has three talented arms in Drew Pomeranz, Steven Wright, and Eduardo Rodriguez battling for the final two spots in their starting rotation.
Of course, Price may not be out of the woods just yet, and his status for opening day remains up in the air. He’ll be re-evaluated in seven to 10 days, and even if he’s cleared to resume throwing at that point, he’ll be behind his normal spring schedule. The Red Sox also figure to take things slow with him coming off the injury scare, so Price being ready for the start of the season is far from a guarantee at this point.
With six quality starters for five rotation spots, the Red Sox have the depth to survive without Price for a period of time, but over the long term, they’re relying on Price to help them repeat as AL East champions in 2017. Price struggled during his first season in Boston, posting a rathe pedestrian 3.99 ERA despite winning 17 games. However, he did pitch better the second half of the season, and the Red Sox are expecting him to return to dominance now that he’s had a year to become comfortable with his new club.
Price getting an MRI on his elbow and having to go for a second opinion definitely wasn’t in Boston’s plans for 2017. However, the end result is as good as the Red Sox could have hoped for, and in due time, the club expects Price to rejoin what on paper looks like one of the best starting rotations in baseball.