BOSTON - David Price’s third bullpen session is set for Saturday, with an increase to 45 pitches and the first test of his breaking ball off the mound expected. If all goes well, Sox manager John Farrell reinforced what Dave Dombrowski previously suggested - that Price could face hitters next week.
“We’ll see how Saturday goes,” Farrell said Thursday. “What we plan to do is have him up and down in that bullpen. It will be a 45-pitch pen. Not to go 45 consecutive, but maybe it could be 25 and a 20 just to break it up. Coming out of that, if he’s feeling as consistent as he’s been, could foresee hitters possibly early next week.
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“I would anticipate Saturday being the use of his breaking ball. He’s spinning a breaking ball off flat ground now. His two bullpens have been primarily fastballs at this point.”
Price would need to get his pitch count up to a normal range — figure near 90 pitches — so Farrell confirmed the idea Price is essentially restarting spring training.
At some point, the Sox will have to take stock of how well Price is throwing in terms of velocity and movement. But that’s still to come.
“I wouldn’t anticipate in a live BP or sim game that we would look to do that right now,” Farrell said of checking a radar gun on Price. “He’s throwing with quite a bit of intensity. To give you an exact percentage, I can’t say, but he’s not just easily going through his delivery. I mean, there’s effort and intensity to the pitches thrown. And when you’re able to see him throw his sinker or two-seamer to his glove side — which is what you look for to be the most extension — he’s doing that right now.”