NEW YORK — Hopefully for David Price and the Red Sox, his latest arm problem is minor, negligible. Either way, they should have figured it out a month ago.
A $217 million arm can’t be sent for an MRI every time something crops up. But considering the trouble Price went through in 2017, it’s hard to fathom why he and the Sox weren’t as far in front of this situation as possible.
The lefty has been scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday in a crucial series against the Yankees so that he may undergo tests back in Boston because of numbness in his pitching hand. Per manager Alex Cora, Price felt the numbness Sunday during his side session — the same type of sensation that limited Price to just one inning against the Yankees on April 11, but per Cora had disappeared up until Sunday.
Price has previously said the numbness he felt that cold April night at Fenway Park was due to a circulation issue he has dealt with since he was a kid: a cold-weather issue, rather than anything else. He did not go for an MRI in April.
“All the tests, everything that our training staff have to make sure for us to feel comfortable with the situation, he’s been good,” Cora said on April 12. “He played catch, he’s out there.”
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A couple major questions lingered back then: How did they actually know? Had they ruled out other possibilities, and could that be done without an MRI? Replying to an email on April 13 from NBC Sports Boston, Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski declined to answer those questions.
“As you are aware, HIPAA laws do not allow me to discuss his medical situation,” Dombrowski said.
Dombrowski has previously discussed elements of Price's medical situation at various points. Dombrowski also declined to answer whether the Sox were previously aware of the circulation issue Price identified. Price said it happened once in his time with Detroit.
Cora on Tuesday did not specifically confirm that Price will now receive an MRI, but it's hard to imagine the Sox would not conduct one.
The Sox are fortunate that they had Monday’s scheduled off-day. No one is being asked to pitch on short rest, and no spot starter is necessary against a team that’s one game out in the American League East. Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez, who otherwise would have pitched with an extra day of rest, just slide up a day. But if the Sox didn’t have Monday’s off-day, this could have been a precarious situation facing the Yanks.
Cora on Tuesday was asked how the Sox decided whether to send Price for testing a month ago. He indicated no regret.
“Everybody thought, everybody agreed that it was just something that happened that night,” Cora said. “Obviously, we talk about what happened in Detroit, previous years. But, it’s just, we actually felt that it wasn’t going to happen. It was just a one-day thing. And obviously with the weather, we talk about it and we felt that it was going to happen again. So, he came up on Sunday, now we’re taking that route. It was tested, but now it’s something else. We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes.”
Price’s command has been off lately, but Cora did not tie that to how Price is feeling physically.
“Yesterday he came here, just got treatment, threw a little bit, and we decided it was better for him to go back to Boston, check it out, and go from there,” Cora said. “As soon as I heard what was going on, I think we’re better off for him to see what’s going on, doing more testing, and going from there, making a decision. I’m not saying that he will miss the next start or that there’s a DL situation here, but obviously we want to make sure what’s going on.”
What we do not know is whether Price or the team wanted more testing previously and whether one party balked. Players, more often than teams, can resist testing. No one wants to constantly go for an MRI, particularly if they’re confident they know what the problem is. It’s possible the Red Sox pushed and Price pushed back. But that situation is unknown.
Cora said on Tuesday that “the more we know about this situation, the better it’s going to be for him and obviously for the team.”
Why wasn’t that the guiding mindset a month ago?
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