BOSTON — David Price’s first bullpen session using all his pitches clears the path for him to potentially face hitters in the coming week. But there’s still no guarantee he makes it back in a starting role in 2017.
“To be determined,” manager John Farrell said of the next step. “Hitters are getting closer for sure. One scenario has a lighter ‘pen on Wednesday and then hitters shortly after that. But we’ll continue to take this step by step but that’s the tentative plan right now.”
Farrell downplayed the significance of the minor league schedule ending and the reduced options for Price to face hitters before returning, in whatever role that may be.
“I don’t think it’s a big gamble,” Farrell said. “He made two rehab starts prior to joining the rotation after missing pretty much the first two months. We’ll build him up through simulated games here and then once we get to that level, or that intensity in that work session, we’ll have a better ready on what path his role will be going forward from that point.”
Price threw 30 pitches Monday, including the breaking ball for the first time. He used the change-up for the first time his last time out. Throwing those pitches off the mound is significant in his progression.
“I could throw as hard as I wanted with the fastball, and it was fine,” Price said of his most recent injury an interview with The Athletic. “But when I spun a breaking ball or threw a changeup, that’s when I felt it.” (LINK: )
Bogaerts is back; Travis getting looks
Xander Bogaerts returned to the lineup Monday after three down days. Lefty J.A. Happ was on the mound. Chris Young — who has done better against righties this season, contrary to what his career numbers would lead you to expect — is still getting looks vs. lefties. Hanley Ramirez was at DH with Sam Travis, freshly recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, at first base.
The Red Sox options for a power bat grew fewer and likely more expensive Friday when former Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana agreed to a three-year, $60 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Jon Heyman of FanRagSports.com and MLB Network was first to report the Santana deal, which comes as somewhat as a surprise with the rebuilding Phillies making a free-agent splash.
The Red Sox reportedly met with Santana earlier this offseason. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe reported that the Sox offered a three-year deal to Santana that wasn't in the range of the Phillies.
He doesn't hit for a high average (.249 career), but his combination of power and walks gives him a career OPS of .810. Last season he hit .259 with 23 homers and 79 RBI and an .818 OPS, and over his career, he has averaged 25 home runs and 85 RBI over 162 games.
That Santana was able to command a $20-million-a-year deal from the Phillies likely raises the price of the other power bats the Sox had reportedly targeted, J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer.
While the Red Sox’ interest in free agents J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer has been well-documented, it may not be a one-or-the-other situation.
According to the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman, Boston’s intention is to sign both Martinez and Hosmer in an effort to strengthen an offense that finished last in the American League in home runs in 2016. Though Dave Dombrowski declined to comment on any and all free agent discussions, Silverman wrote that the team’s “goal is to sign them both.”
Martinez, 30, has seen his power numbers fluctuate throughout his career. He belted 29 homers in 62 games after getting traded to the Diamondbacks last season to finish the campaign with a career-best 45 homers between Detroit and Arizona. His previous career-high in home runs was 38, which he hit in 2015 with the Tigers.
The 28-year-old Hosmer, who has played his entire career with the Royals since being drafted third overall by them in 2008, hit .318/.385/.498 last season with 25 homers and 94 RBI. He’s hit 25 home runs in back-to-back seasons; they are the only two seasons of his seven-year career in which he’s hit 20 or more.
Silverman estimates that signing both players could cost as much as a combined $450 million.