Red Sox

Price can pitch with less rest, but unlikely to go back-to-back before playoffs


Price can pitch with less rest, but unlikely to go back-to-back before playoffs

BOSTON -- It’s unlikely David Price will pitch in consecutive games in the regular season, and it doesn’t sound like manager John Farrell feels Price needs to do so in the postseason, either.

Nothing is ruled out, however.

“Initially it would be multi-innings,” Farrell said of Price's postseason role. “But if there was an outing in which it was one inning -- that’s not to limit the fact if he felt physically fine the next day, we could possibly use him. But in this final week, it's not an item that’s got to be checked, to get him on back-to-back days.”

Farrell said Price can already be used with fewer than four days rest, which is the interval starting pitchers use and is also the amount of rest Price had between his two appearances. Farrell said Price ideally would be used with fewer than four days rest some time this week.

“And you know what, he was available two days after he pitches two innings in Tampa,” Farrell said. “He pitched two innings in Tampa [on Sept. 17], was going to be a minimum of two days down. He was ready to pitch on Wednesday [on Sept. 19] in Baltimore. We got a one-sided game [that day], off-day Thursday. So yeah, I can tell you this right now, he’s ready for a better frequency than four days.”

Yet, at the same time, Price is likely going to have at least three days rest before his next outing. Farrell said he wants to stay away from him Monday.

Farrell said Price's role is usage-dependent.

“Likely wouldn't go to him tonight for another day of rest after 40 pitches [Friday]," Farrell said. "We would only pitch him back to back if there was an outing in which it was 12 pitches or less, and he was available the next night. But I think in the two outings in which he’s pitched, that's probably more the role that I envision. 

“Not to say that couldn't change going forward, but that was a big 2 2/3 innings the other night. It bridged the gap to Addison [Reed] and then to Craig [Kimbrel].”

Farrell on Monday noted that “Price has kind of allowed that bullpen to kind of fall in line a little bit more consistently.” Yet, if Price can’t pitch on consecutive days, that leaves open a question of how things go without Price available in the postseason.

Could the Sox get more out of Price if they pitch him in Games 2 and 3 of the Division Series, with one off-day in between for travel, rather than using him in Game 1? 

Maybe that’s the thinking. Because ideally, the Sox wouldn’t need Price for much length in a game Chris Sale starts, and Sale’s obviously going to be the Game 1 starter.

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

MORE - Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.


Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Red Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

Blake Swihart’s strong spring seems to have the Red Sox more inclined to deal one of their natural utility infielders, such as Brock Holt or Deven Marrero, rather than Swihart, a converted catcher with high upside who's getting a look in other roles.
"Sounds like they’re holding Swihart to open," a rival executive said. "More likely to move a utility guy."
A true utility guy, that is.


The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported Sunday that Marrero has been drawing interest from other teams.

"We do have depth with our middle infielders," Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday. "However, [I] would not get into potential trade discussions."
Swihart, who turns 26 on April 3, is most valuable as a catcher. But he could still be useful in a bench role for the 2018 Red Sox, and a win-now mentality may be the driving force here. (It is possible, as well, that there is nothing available via trade for Swihart that has piqued the Sox’ interest. Marrero or Holt wouldn’t require as much in return.)
The potential drawback is that Swihart won’t grow much if he’s not playing every day -- and in particular, if he's not catching every day. But the Sox may be be at a juncture where they feel his bat is a worthwhile experiment off the bench, at least for this season. They can figure out his future -- and their future at backstop -- later.
"He’s a great athlete," Cora told reporters on Sunday. "We’ve seen it in the batter’s box. It’s not only the results, but the way he’s driving the ball to left field as a left-hander, the quality of at-bats as a right-hander. [On Saturday], as a pinch-hitter, that kid was throwing 99 and he throws a breaking ball and squares a ball up."
Swihart entered Monday with a .283 average in Grapefruit League play, with a .905 OPS and a pair of home runs. But he does not have the infield experience that Marrero or Holt has, and the Red Sox essentially have to carry one of those two to start the year. 
Eduardo Nunez, the temporary replacement for Dustin Pedroia, is coming off a knee injury, and a sure-handed infielder -- Marrero’s glove is particularly good -- is a must. Rafael Devers is still coming into his own at third base. 
Tzu-Wei Lin is available in the minors too, and the Sox could see some redundancy with him, Holt and Marrero. Lin, unlike Marrero, has minor league options remaining. Lin also has some limited outfield experience.
The way the Sox roster looks now, they have two spots available for the three guys: Marrero, Holt and Swihart. Health can change that. Holt, despite being the most veteran of the group, has minor league options remaining, so he theoretically could go to Triple-A to start the season. But if the Sox don't see a role for him on this year's team any way, they'd be wiser trading him, considering he's due to make $2.225 million. It also would be kindest choice for Holt, to let him have an opportunity elsewhere, if one exists.


Swihart has played first base, third base and left field in addition to catching this spring. Perhaps, in time, there will be a way to work Swihart in behind the plate for the Sox. At the least, retaining him would be insurance if Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon do not perform well offensively.
There was a clear personal-catcher system for the Red Sox in 2017. Leon was Chris Sale’s guy, for example. Manager Alex Cora said he is not taking that approach. As an auxiliary effect, moving away from a personal-catcher system might make it easier for Swihart to receive more time behind the plate, if called on.
"Whoever I feel comfortable with that day behind the plate, he'll catch," Cora told reporters in Florida. "Christian already caught him. Sandy's going to catch him today. And then the next turn, Christian's going to catch him. Everybody's going to work with everybody."