BALTIMORE — David Price definitely preferred to start rather than pitch out of the bullpen, but in an interview with the Washington Post, the Red Sox’ temporarily converted reliever emphasized his overall desire to do something rather than nothing.
“I’ll be able to help — maybe not as much as I would as a starter, I feel like, but that time of the season, I know how big that is, to have a guy who can [pitch in that role],” Price told the Post’s Dave Sheinin. “If we make it to October and I throw the ball extremely well coming out of the ‘pen, it doesn’t matter that I wasn’t a starter. I just want to help these guys win.”
Price looked excellent in a two-inning stint Sunday in Tampa Bay, using all four pitches and touching 96 mph on his fastball. But how Price feels physically still appears to be a touch-and-go matter.
He described his most recent injury to The Athletic as being mostly related to the triceps. Speaking to the Post, Price said he’s going through “a trial-and-error process.”
“I’ve always been a guy who hasn’t had [next-day] soreness,” he said. “I’ve never had problems with my arm. When I pitch, the next day, I feel like I can pitch that day. I’ve always told my managers that. When I see them the next day, I’m like, ‘I’m good.’ This is still a trial-and-error process, too. We don’t know how it’s going to respond, but when I woke up [Monday] morning I felt good.”
Price indicated he feels good about his ability to persevere.
“I’ve dealt with it. I’ve gotten through it,” Price said. “Most people would’ve been at the house months ago. I didn’t pack it in. Does it feel good? No. [But] I still pitched. If people don’t appreciate that, or can’t, so be it.”
The Red Sox optioned three players, including lefties Robby Scott and Roenis Elias to Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday, leaving rookie Bobby Poyner as the leading candidate to make the team as a lefty reliever.
Infielder Tzu-Wei Lin was also sent to Pawtucket and catcher Dan Butler, infielder Iván De Jesús Jr., and outfielders Rusney Castillo and Aneury Tavárez were re-assigned to minor league camp.
Poyner, 25, dominated at Double-A Portland last season. The 14th-round pick from the University of Florida in 2015 held opponents to a .142 batting average with a .094 ERA in 27 appearances for the Sea Dogs. Poyner has an 0.96 ERA with eight strikeouts in 9 1/3 spring training innings.
Red Sox manager Alex Corea told reporters in Florida on Saturday that left-handers Drew Pomeranz (left forearm) and Eduardo Rodriguez (offseason knee surgery) will begin the season on the disabled list, leaving Hector Velazquez, Justin Haley or Marcus Walden to make the team as the fifth starter.
A few decisions remain with the opener approaching Thursday at Tampa Bay, including whether Blake Swihart, Brock Holt or Deven Marrero will make team as bench players.
The Red Sox and catcher Christian Vazquez have agreed to a three-year contract extension that runs through 2021 with a team option for 2022, the team announced Saturday.
Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported the contract details:
Vazquez, hitting .323 this spring with two homers, appeared in a career-high 99 games (85 starts) last season and hit .290 with five homers and 32 RBI. Vazquez also threw out 42 percent of attempted base stealers in 2017, the highest rate since 1987.
Vazquez split time with Sandy Leon (85 games) behind the plate last season. The Red Sox will carry three catchers on the Opening Day roster if Blake Swihart, who can also play the outfield, makes team.