Red Sox

Farrell finds himself explaining rotation decision

Farrell finds himself explaining rotation decision

TORONTO -- After initially suggesting at the end of spring training that the Red Sox would do what they could to have David Price make as many starts as possible, manager John Farrell found himself again explaining the decision to push all of the team's starters back in the wake of Thursday's rainout in Cleveland.

The adjustment means that instead of getting the finale here Sunday against the team for whom he pitched last season, Price will start the home opener on Monday against the Baltimore Orioles.

"With the delays and cancellations, yeah, our rotation gets backed up,'' acknowledged Farrell. "But we've got to include all. We're going to need a fifth starter by Tuesday of this upcoming week, so to get everybody back to the mound and a turn through the rotation will be good from an overall schedule and rhythm standpoint.

"There's no game more important than another. It's not like we have three games remaining in the season; we've got a lot remaining. Each and every starter that goes to the mound for us is going to be important. If this were just about David Price, he'd be starting every fifth day. But it's about our entire rotation and getting the most out of this group.''

There had been some thought that Price would be better off going against Toronto, the team that led the majors in runs scored last season.

"It's a very good lineup,'' agreed Farrell. "We're also going to face a very good one (with) Baltimore when we get off this road trip. There's not one game that is more critical, more important than another. Steven Wright has also thrown the ball pretty darn well against this lineup (last weekend) in Montreal.

"We need contributions from all and we've got to keep them as close to their routine as possible. The rainouts cause you to adjust, and we're prioritizing the entire group, not just one individual. And David understood that.''

Price seemed genuinely unfazed by the one-day change.

"I do what I'm told,'' he said. "I'm sure, at some point, we'll talk about it. But (Thursday) night, it was kind of a spur of the moment thing. We expected to play that game. I get it. You don't want to skip somebody and it's almost two weeks before they make their first start. This isn't about me; this is about us as a staff.

There will be a slight adjustment to his in-between start routine, since he'll now be going on his sixth day, rather than his standard fifth day. But Price has already adapted.

"I didn't throw a bullpen (Thursday), knowing what could happen, with the game to be cancelled,'' he said. "I'll just take it day-to-day. I'm not even going to play catch (Friday). It's not that I'm sore or don't feel good. It's just saving those bullets. I have that extra day, so I can kind of let my body rest today and get after it (Saturday).''

Under the revised schedule, Price gets the honor of pitching the home opener.

"That'll be very exciting,'' said Price. "I've never been to Fenway for an Opening Day. In Boston, that'll be a very special day.''

He has a history of pitching well at Fenway (6-1, 1.95 in 11 career starts) and is looking forward to calling the ballpark home.

"I love the mound, first and foremost,'' he said. "That's definitely a big factor. The backdrop, I feel like I'm extremely close to the catcher. That's not always the same in every ballpark. In Fenway, I really feel close to the catcher and that's a comfort thing.''

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

Strong Grapefruit League debut for Price

David Price's Grapefruit League debut was nearly perfect.

The Red Sox left-hander pitched four scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk and striking out five in a 7-5 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in Fort Myers, Fla.

Price threw 55 pitches, 34 for strikes. He cruised through the first on nine pitches. He allowed the single and walk in the second.  

"It feels good. This is March 15 and I've never been able to have a four-pitch mix on March 15," Price told reporters after his start. "I've never been this far along in spring training even though I've only thrown in one game. I'm excited about that."

The Red Sox open March 29 at Tampa Bay, with Chris Sale likely to start. Price will likely pitch the second game of the season, March 30 at Tropicana Field.