Posted on May 6, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
Just when things were starting to go well for David Price, his season has been derailed by an injury. The Boston Red Sox placed Price on the 10-day Injured List Monday with what the club is calling tendinitis in his left elbow. The Red Sox haven’t given a timetable for his return, so the seriousness of the injury remains to be seen.
Price has shown no signs of something being amiss over the first month of the season. He struggled in his first couple of starts in early April. But the southpaw appeared to settle in after that. Over his first six starts of the 2019 campaign, Price has registered a 3.75 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP while averaging better than a strikeout per inning. By all accounts, he’s been able to pick up where he left off last season when he won 16 games and posted a 3.58 ERA.
Alas, on the eve of his next scheduled start, the Red Sox are sending him to the IL. Price went six innings in his last start, something he’s done for all but one outing this year. The fact that he didn’t need to leave that start prematurely could indicate a nagging injury that has grown worse in recent days.
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Naturally, any kind of elbow issue with a pitcher could be considered potentially serious. Price is no exception to that. He missed the first two months of the 2017 season after straining his elbow during spring training. Price then missed time later in the season because of inflammation in the elbow, ultimately returning in mid-September and pitching out of the bullpen the rest of the year. That recent history should implore the Red Sox to proceed with caution if Price is experiencing more elbow problems.
Of course, Price is someone the Red Sox can ill afford to lose from their rotation right now. Boston is also without Nathan Eovaldi, who had elbow surgery last month and is likely out until June. Meanwhile, the trio of Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez all have an ERA over 5.00. To date, Price has been the most reliable member of Boston’s rotation.
At the moment, the Red Sox are already relying on swingman Hector Velazquez to take Eovaldi’s spot in the rotation despite not lasting longer than three innings in any start. Now the team is reaching even deeper into its rotation depth to take Price’s spot. Journeyman Josh Smith is set to start Monday against the Orioles. Ryan Weber is also an option after being called up from triple-A when Price went on the IL. However, neither should be considered a long-term option.
Despite a dreadful start to the season, the Red Sox have crawled back within a game of .500. However, they’re a long way from where they’d like to be. Losing Price to the IL won’t make things any easier for a rotation that’s struggling to find consistency. If it’s a short-term problem, Price may only miss a start or two. But considering his elbow problems two years ago, there is reason for Boston to be concerned about his health moving forward. At this point, Price might be the last pitcher the Red Sox can afford to lose.