Despite pitching well in his return from the IL, David Price's first game back from injury wasn't a long one.
After two scoreless innings on 45 pitches, the Boston Red Sox starter was pulled from the contest. The bullpen would go on to finish the last seven innings of the game. But according to Alex Cora, that was always part of the plan for bringing Price back.
"We were thinking three (innings), but then the effort and obviously he hasn’t pitched in a while. It was kind of a tough day," Cora said, as transcribed from NESN’s postgame coverage by Chris Grenham. "We got the pitch count up and I didn’t feel too comfortable pushing him. This is a guy that we really need for what we’re going to accomplish. Hey, we took a gamble, we took him out. He’ll be ready for the next one, but that was on me."
The gamble did pay off, and it certainly was one that Cora was more comfortable making thanks to September call-ups. The Red Sox had added several reinforcements to their bullpen including Travis Lakins, Ryan Weber, and Hector Velazquez for Sunday's game. That trio combined to pitch five innings of two-run ball and Weber, who notched the win, looked particularly good in two scoreless innings.
As for Price, though his outing was short, he did feel as though he was pitching better on Sunday than he did before his month-long stint on the IL began.
"I was one side of the plate before I went on the injured list. And today, I made a lot of good fastballs on the inside to righties," said Price per Alex Speier of The Boston Globe. "Just being able to get the ball on the right side of the plate, that’s what I want."
As Price sees more action down the stretch, the Red Sox will look to get more out of him. And they'll need it. They are still five games back of the second wild card spot with just 25 games left to play. They'll next get a chance to earn a victory on Tuesday night when they return to Fenway Park to take on the Minnesota Twins. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
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