FORT MYERS, Fla - It was just another work day for David Price Sunday at the Red Sox' spring training complex. But inside of a rather routine outing, a showdown with the Red Sox' top minor league prospect featured an intriguing matchup.
Held out of a cross-state trip to Port St. Lucie because of the fear that rain could wash out his scheduled start, Price stayed behind and pitched in a camp game on the backfields of the minor league complex.
Price tossed five shutout innings, allowing six hits while striking out eight.
But a few at-bats by Red Sox phenom Yoan Moncada got the pitcher's attention.
In the first plate appearance, Moncada lined out to right. In his second, he managed a ground ball single. In the third showdown against Price, Moncada showed his mettle.
Down 1-and-2 in the count, Price, who had worked Moncada inside, threw the infielder a breaking ball and Moncada smacked it.
''I feel like a lot of young guys would be sitting on that fastball inside again, but he didn't do that,'' said Price in admiration. "He took the ball up the middle of the field. There's a lot of hits up the middle if you keep the ball there.
"That was pretty impressive.''
As for the rest of the outing, Price was merely making strides toward Opening Day, now just over two weeks away.
"I got the pitch count up into the 70s,'' said Price. "My first two outings in the games, I was in the low 50s (for pitch count), so to amp it up 25 pitches, that's good. I responded well. My location and command were pretty good; I didn't think my stuff was that good today. But I got my work in, got up (and down) five times, maybe six, just getting through that part of spring.''
Price was asked about the rest of the rotation stepping up to make up for the temporary loss of Eduardo Rodriguez, who will not be ready to start the season because of a minor knee injury.
"(It's a matter of having everyone doing) their part,'' said Price. "(Injuries) are going to happen throughout the season. You've got to be ready to have guys go down and have everyone do their part, don't do more. When you put extra pressure on yourself, that's when nothing is ever good enough.
"So just go out there, be yourself and throw your game.''
Price said he was able to bring some adrenaline to the mound, despite the quiet atmosphere of pitching before a hundred people or so on a minor league field. What was more challenging, he said, was the 11 a.m. start time, but Price jokingly said he would use the experience if he happens to start at Fenway on Patriots Day, also an 11 a.m. start.