Forearm soreness, MRI, and second opinion. Three words you never want to hear in regards to a pitcher. Boston Red Sox’s star pitcher, David Price is scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews after dealing with forearm soreness early in spring training. He’ll miss his Grapefruit League debut, but the Sox are worried he’ll have to miss much more.[Milkins]
While this could just be a precautionary measure, the fact that Price is going all the way to Indianapolis to meet with Dr. Andrews in person suggests otherwise. Red Sox fans don’t want to hear it, but Tommy John Surgery is the first thing that comes to mind in these situations. Price is entering the second year of his seven-year, $217 million contract with Boston. He’s expected to pitch atop one of the best rotations in baseball, and play a huge role in Boston’s chances at a championship.
It hasn’t been decided yet, but the question is already running through everyone’s mind. What happens if Price is forced to undergo surgery and miss the entire 2017 season? There aren’t many guys in baseball that are as durable as Price has been throughout his career. Last season he pitched a league-leading 230 innings, and has logged at least 200 in six of the last seven seasons. He’s not only been a workhorse, but an incredibly effective one at that. In eight major league seasons, he has accumulated a 3.21 ERA and 1.142 WHIP, while spending the majority of his career in the AL East. Price has been one of the most reliable and durable pitchers in baseball, and the Red Sox’s chances take a huge hit if he were to go down for an extended period of time.
This is baseball, and these things happen. We don’t want to think about it just yet, but the Red Sox need a plan in case Price goes down. After adding Chris Sale this offseason, the Sox have virtually two aces in their rotation. With Price out, Sale would need to be relied on even more, and guys that weren’t expected to make the rotation need to step up and give it their all. Eduardo Rodriguez appears to be the most likely candidate to win a rotation spot, as he has done in the past. He’s no Price, but his 3.24 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 14 starts after the All-Star break were encouraging signs. Joe Kelly, Roenis Elias, and Henry Owens are also possibilities. Hopefully, Price and the Red Sox will receive good news from Dr. Andrews. Until then, we have to prepare for the worst.